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Preda Newsletter January 2006

January 3, 2006 · 

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Children from around the Preda Center enjoy the games during the Christmas party for them.

Children from around the Preda Center enjoy the games during the Christmas party for them.

With this Newsletter, I wish to thank all our friends and supporters for their greeting cards, letters and donations for the children over the Christmas and New Year. We had parties, gift-giving, new clothes and toys for the children, carnival trips and beach outings for the 37 girls recovering from sexual abuse and 54 young boys. They are housed in a separate center some are as young as 12-years old and have been rescued from prisons where they were abused and maltreated in sub-human conditions. Now they are safe and happy.

Besides this, we had a big Christmas party for over one hundred children from the surrounding neighborhood of Preda. The children were singing, dancing and playing games and we had lots of prizes. All went home with gifts making it a really great Christmas for the kids.

After the parties, many of the children had home visits. Those with no families went to the homes of the Preda staff. Your help is greatly appreciated, it enables us with our donor partners and friends to continue this important work of saving children.


Preda rescues abused children

Children of all ages with excitement written on their faces line up to receive special gifts of toys for them.

Children of all ages with excitement written on their faces line up to receive special gifts of toys for them.

During these past months, the Preda Rescue Team has rescued five sexually abused children and brought them to safety at the Preda Children’s Home. Last week was another such case. A member of the public who had attended the Preda child rights seminar given by the Preventive Education and Public Speaking (PEPS) Team used our ‘hot cell phone line’ to tell us of a child being abused in a nearby town by the live-in partner of her mother. (We gave 201 seminars to teachers, students and parents in 2005 reaching 13, 285 people!)

Immediately, the Preda paralegal officer went there with the help of a policewoman who had participated in a Preda human rights seminar for police and took the child into the legal custody of Preda. But before the child could be brought to Preda, the mayor tried to stop it. The abuser was his employee and perhaps a relative. A pay-off was offered to the mother. The Preda rescue team stood their ground and succeeded in rescuing the child.

Jenny, 8 years old, was sexually abused by her step-father, the second common law husband of her mother. She has an elder brother and a younger sister but lives with the abuser with whom her mother has two younger children.

At first, Jenny’s mother supported her and filed a complaint in court. The abusive stepfather was arrested and jailed. After a month, Jenny’s mother filed with the court an affidavit of desistance so that the case will be dismissed. She said that the complaint was mainly due to a misunderstanding between her and her abusive husband.

The prosecutor did not recognize this and said that the mother is influencing Jenny to withdraw the complaint for ‘economic reasons.’ The thought that the abuser will not be able to support her family must have dampened her conviction to pursue justice.

School children watch the puppet presentation that is part of the preventive education seminar given by Preda.

School children watch the puppet presentation that is part of the preventive education seminar given by Preda.

But Jenny, younger than seven years when the first incident of abuse took place, stood by her word. She expressed her desire to pursue the case to government social workers who recommended that she be transferred to the custody of Preda.

Now at Preda, Jenny is receiving support and encouragement from the other children and staff. She undergoes regular counseling and therapy sessions to help her overcome the trauma of her experience and to be empowered in preparation for her testimony in court. Preda social workers also transferred her to a school that is safe for her.

The Preda Human Rights Education Team with funds from the Development Cooperation Ireland is combating this immoral and criminal obstruction of justice. They held seminars in more than 200 government districts throughout the province in 2005 and reached and educated 4,903 government officials on the rights of the child.

Legal action
The Preda legal team is prosecuting 11 abusers and bringing them to justice. This is a healing process for the child and a chance for the abuser to repent and do penance behind bars. There is a Preda-assisted prosecution in Angeles City against child exploiters and traffickers.

The child witnesses, Preda staff with the International Justice Mission (IJM) lawyer and social worker attended the promulgation of decision in the case of Glenn Thomas Jarrell, an American accused of trafficking children into the G-Spot sex bar and club three years ago. Jarrell was in court but the promulgation was postponed by Judge Pinto of the Angeles City Court as the two Filipino traffickers were not in court. Arrest warrants were issued against them and the promulgation will be on February 10.

Preda cared for the six minors after they were rescued from the sex bars. Another Australian, George Terrence Matthews, is on trial for similar offenses. His victims also recovered at Preda and testified against him too. The Philippines is on the US State Department level two watch-list for non-compliance with its international obligations to curb and prosecute traffickers of women and children. Only one conviction by Philippines authorities is recorded. Australian MPs Tony Stewart and House Speaker John Aquilina, NSW visited Preda in February.


Combating trafficking of women and children

Members of the Preda youth group demand justice in the case against 4 US servicemen.

Members of the Preda youth group demand justice in the case against 4 US servicemen.

Preda plans to open a new center for minors trafficked and exploited in the sex tourist industry. Despite the unrelenting efforts of NGOs to combat this and stronger international legislation against it, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 individuals, majority of whom are women, still become victims of trafficking in the Philippines & many sent abroad mostly to Japan.

The U.S. Military based on a new law, has adopted a zero-tolerance policy on prostitution since October 2005. To get around this, some U.S. troops in the Philippines arrange for young girls to be brought by pimps to secluded motels and vans in the former military bases of Clarke and Subic Bay and they are prostituted.

Four U.S. marines were charged with raping a young Filipina woman last November 1st 2005 in a rented van at Subic Bay. They are held in custody by the US Embassy. Protesters say it is a violation of Philippine sovereignty. Demonstrations have been held in Olongapo City and Manila.

German national arrested by Immigration authorities
A German national, a suspected sex mafia in Olongapo, was arrested and detained last November. This suspect was ordered deported by the Philippine authorities because of a complaint brought by Preda against him for obstruction of justice in a child abuse case. He also had an arrest warrant issued against him by a German Court for frame-up, kidnapping and armed robbery of a German citizen and his Filipina wife. Despite the serious charges, he paid to get out of Bicutan jail. He is retaliating by instigating charges of libel against Preda. We will defeat their threats and harassments.

Students line up to watch the documentary film “Bunso” in celebration of International Human Rights Day December 10.

Students line up to watch the documentary film “Bunso” in celebration of International Human Rights Day December 10.

Pontifical Council publishes Fr. Shay’s speech
Fr. Shay Cullen, the director and founder of Preda, was invited as a speaker and facilitator by the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People to the Sixth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism held in Bangkok in 2004. He presented a paper about the trafficking of women and children and in additional remarks, appealed to the cardinals and bishops from all over the world to strengthen child protection measures in all dioceses and deal decisively with the clerical sexual abuse of children and youth especially boys. Many of the resolutions proposed by Fr. Shay were adopted by the congress delegates. He received prolonged applause from the delegates.

The following October 2004, he was invited again by the same Pontifical Council to speak in Rome at an international conference on street children. The Pontifical Council has recently published Fr. Shay’s presentation on sex tourism and globalization. You may request for copies by writing to office@migrants.va.

More international campaigns
On September 13, 2005, Fr. Shay was invited to Washington D.C. to speak on the situation of children in prison before a subcommittee of the Committee on International Relations. Together with Lord David Alton, the situation was well-presented with images from the ITN-CNN report. Some members of the congressional committee said they would try to visit the Philippines in 2006 and visit the prisons and Preda. They signed a letter to the President asking that an abandoned site be given to Preda for a children’s home.

Pillars of justice. Judge Renato J. Dilag, Fiscal Peter Parco, Chief Inspector Dennis U. Rocamora and Senior Inspector Josephine B. Pacadaljen, jail wardens of Las Piñas and Olongapo City jails respectively, visit the Preda Home for Boys December 16.

Pillars of justice. Judge Renato J. Dilag, Fiscal Peter Parco, Chief Inspector Dennis U. Rocamora and Senior Inspector Josephine B. Pacadaljen, jail wardens of Las Piñas and Olongapo City jails respectively, visit the Preda Home for Boys December 16.

On November 4, 2005, Fr. Shay was again invited to the US Congress to present evidence on the children in prison at another congressional committee. Many congressmen and senators gave a private meeting to Lord Alton, Fr. Shay and the Jubilee Campaign Team. All this was organized and paid for by Jubilee Campaign based in Washington headed by its USA charismatic Christian founder Attorney Ann Buwalda.

The Columban Fathers Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Office, headed by Amy Woolam Echeverria, provided accommodation to Fr. Shay and joined the lobbying to the congressmen and senators. At the US State Department they met Ambassador John Miller who heads the anti-trafficking effort of the US State Department. Last December 2005, Mr. Alex Hermoso met with Ambassador Miller in Manila at a round-table meeting to plan co-operation in countering the trafficking of children and women.

Last May, Mr. Alex Hermoso, the Preda programme director, represented Preda in the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. Mr. Hermoso gave a speech describing the growth of cyber-sex shops in the Philippines where children are forced to do sex acts on camera sent by Internet to paying customers in other countries. He called for the control of child pornography by the server corporations that service clients sending and receiving images by the Internet. They claim they are not responsible for content that goes through their computers. Preda is lobbying the Philippine Senate to pass a stronger law against child pornography that would penalize even mere possession of these materials.

Alex Corpus Hermoso informs the public of the evils of sex tourism and Internet child pornography.

Alex Corpus Hermoso informs the public of the evils of sex tourism and Internet child pornography.

Media helps advocacy
Last August 2005, and again February 2006, ITN and CNN broadcast a searing report on the condition of children in prison. It showed the conditions of children imprisoned with adults, and kids sexually abused by pedophiles. It had interviews with children released to Preda described the subhuman conditions in the jails and how Preda is rescuing the children. It caused outrage among Filipinos yet little has been done to stop the abuse. However, the ITN/CNN report moved the Philippine Senate to resurrect & pass the comprehensive juvenile justice bill. It promotes restorative justice rather than punitive and makes jailing children a criminal offense. The bill is now before the Lower House.

For over one year, Preda lobbied the Philippine Government to

The Preda Human Rights Education Team reaches hundreds of teachers in public and private schools.

The Preda Human Rights Education Team reaches hundreds of teachers in public and private schools.

give a disused and neglected government bungalow and land for a children’s home and food production for kids and youth rescued from pedophiles and prisons. This week, February 2006, Preda was offered a useless & decrepit warehouse smelling of goat dung with a corroded roof full of holes and a small piece of land under onerous and oppressive conditions. Preda declined the offer and is now fund raising to buy a farmhouse for the children’s home.

Children still suffer in adult jails that scar them for life. We are doing our best to rescue as many young children as we can and give them a

Boys in the Preda Home pose with the jail wardens and court personnel during the latter’s visit to Preda December 16.

Boys in the Preda Home pose with the jail wardens and court personnel during the latter’s visit to Preda December 16.

new lease of life in the Preda Home for Boys. One of these is 13-year old James. His family migrated from the province to the slums of Manila to seek medical treatment for his mother who eventually died of breast cancer. His father re-married and so James was left to the custody of his elder sister. After less than a year, he dropped off from school and became a scavenger together with other street children. He, together with another 15-year old boy, is accused of stealing $20 worth of scrap metal. When we rescued him, he was one month in jail although he has not been convicted of the crime. We are working to have the charges dropped.

A simple letter of appeal with your signature on it to the Philippine Congress to pass the juvenile justice bill will let them know that people are concerned about the plight of children. You may write to Speaker

Girls proudly display their art workshop output.

Girls proudly display their art workshop output.

Jose de Venecia and tell him that “Children as young as eight are imprisoned in the Philippines with adult prisoners in the most degrading and dehumanized conditions that violate Philippine laws, international conventions and moral decency as well as the dignity of the Filipino people. This shameful condition was seen all over the world recently on CNN. Your positive action to advance the passing of the Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Bill will alleviate this and stop the abuse of children.”

You can send your letter to Speaker Jose de Venecia, 2nd Floor, Main Building, House of Representatives, Constitution Hills, Batasan Complex, Diliman, Quezon City, 1126 Philippines.

Peace and Blessings,

Fr. Shay Cullen and the Preda Staff and Children

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