Preda Deutsch Website

Preda Newsletter March 2008

March 4, 2008 · 

Share

Profiles in Courage

Aileen and Maryann, awards and valedictorian

Aileen and Maryann, awards and valedictorian

Maryann is one of the outspoken young leaders of the Preda Youth organization AKBAY. She is a strong minded and determined young lady that is an advocate for children’s and women rights. Maryann is also a talented actress and has traveled for the past three years to Europe in the star role in “Once we had a dream”. She has recovered from a life of neglect, hardship, poverty and exploitation. Her father an Australian, who migrated from Finland, married a Filipino woman and then had two children, a boy and girl. But the marriage did not work. They had a comfortable home but her father died under mysterious circumstances and her mother went with another man reputedly a drug dependent. All the property was sold off and spent on drugs.

The children were abandoned, dropped out of school and Raymond became a street boy. Maryann then 15, was offered a job in Angeles city in a sex bar supposedly waiting at tables, unaware of the danger, she took it. She was told she had debts to pay, was threatened, forbidden to leave and was forced to give sexual favors to the foreign customers. Sex slavery – Ironically many of the men were from Australia, the UK, Ireland and America. The sex bars operate with the permits of the local mayors.

Maryann was rescued and brought to the Preda children’s home for exploited girls. She made a great recovery in the caring family atmosphere filled with affirmation, support, and encouragement. With counseling, and emotional expression therapy she cried out all her pain, anger and suffering at being abandoned, having a broken home, for having being abused and exploited. She realized her life, hardly lived, was destroyed. But like many other resilient young girls she found hope and perseverance and she overcame all that.

She is an empowered young woman today that we all admire so much. “I want to work to help the other children that are abused and enslaved,” she recently told a journalist. “I don’t want them to suffer as I did, I want parents to be responsible and have more love in families”.

Valedictorian
This March she proudly graduated from high school as the Valedictorian. The highest honors open to any student as the leading highest scoring graduate from a class of 123 students. She scooped the top awards for leadership and academic excellence. Fr. Shay presented her with her medal and diploma to the great applause and cheering of the entire school with the Preda children and staff. What a great success. Well done Maryann and all the other Graduates.

Eileen is another recovered and empowered young student. She received awards too to the delight of all. There are 56 children in the Childhood for Children home for girls and all recovering from sexual abuse, some rescued from bars and brothels. Others saved from their abusers. The youngest child in the Preda Home for girls is 6 years old, the oldest 17.

Joyce is 12 years old. She was raped by an old uncle and became pregnant and was in danger of being abducted before the baby could be born, so that the family of the abuser could have a forced abortion to get rid of the evidence of rape that could carry a life sentence. Her fearful parents had a social worker send a text message to the Preda rescue team. They hurried to the remote village and bundled the trembling 12-year-old, pregnant child into the van and escaped from the threats of the influential relatives of the abuser to the protection of Preda Home for Children. Just one of many similar cases helped by Preda.

Prince and ten boys are baptized

Prince and ten boys are baptized

After a few months at Preda, relaxed and stress free Joyce gave birth to a beautiful baby boy they named him Prince, after Jesus Prince of Peace, because Joyce found peace and protection at Preda. Prince sadly was diagnosed with G6PD a blood disease. We are getting all possible medical treatment for him.

A week ago we had the baptism of Prince in San Lorenzo church by Father Roque Villanueva, a member of the Preda board of trustees. It was a beautiful, happy and joyful occasion. Dozens of Preda staff participated with Prince and Joyce and so too with ten boys from the Preda boys home. Months previously they had been released from horrible jails with the help of the Preda legal and rescue team and by the order of compassionate and helpful judges. They are now recovered, matured in moral values and renewed in faith, they were baptized too.

The school graduation awards came one by one to the young smiling healthy, happy and proud young boys who had been rejected as human trash and thrown in prison as sub-humans only months previously. These youngsters branded by society as pieces of human garbage but rescued and brought to life by the Preda human development team, have turned out to be good intelligent hardworking and successful students.

Two have just graduated from elementary school. What a victory that is for them. Semi-illiterate when released to Preda they have made a stunning comeback. 16 others are also studying formally in school. Others are in the Preda informal education program. There are 50 boys at the home.

New Vocational Center Open

Preda staff helps minors in jail

Preda staff helps minors in jail

Last January 22, the first group of twenty boys transferred from the Preda Boys home in Olongapo to the new Preda residential vocational center in Castillejos. Here they will learn skills that will prepare them for job placement. This building is set in 1.8 hectares of Organic farm land and they are now learning to grow organic vegetables, make organic fertilizer from compost and vermiculite. Bananas and mango trees are planted and they care for native pigs, chickens and soon they will manage a fishpond. No need for walls, fences, guards or gates. Treated with respect and dignity they are happy to be free and earn a living. The phase one building was constructed with the help of generous Preda supporters.

Supporters, Preda-Ireland / Galway, Ennis / Wicklow / Sligo
The first mango tree was planted by Father David Halpin, formerly of Greystones Parish and the parishioners who did stupendous fundraising, also Bernie and John Walsh in Kildare, Philip Cribbin of Galway Community College, (he just set-up Preda Galway), Vera Reynolds of Preda-Clare, this group has planned a big concert at West County Hotel on May 23 with the Preda theater group performing and the support of Bishop Willie Walsh. Christina Farrington, representing Preda in Sligo has supported the girl’s home. Famous Actor Martin Sheen, a Preda supporter, signed DVDs and posters to help raise awareness and money. Our heartfelt thanks to all.

Combating the Sex Industry.Saving children protecting others in the community and bringing their abusers to justice and repentance is a vital part of our work in combating the sex industry and challenging the government’s attitude and policy of indifference and tolerance. It is demanding, dangerous work as the sex mafia are hitting back at us. A group of Preda staffers with Father Shay were arraigned in court last week on libel charges. Fr. Shay is defending himself in court against so called slander charges. Speaking out against abuse causes suspects and accused abusers to retaliate and to use the legal system to gag and silence us. The sex industry operators want us to stop our work too.

Legal officer, Robert Garcia and the boy he rescued after abduction.

Legal officer, Robert Garcia and the boy he rescued after abduction.

Our work they say frightens away the sex tourists. That’s a sign of success for us. The Preda Human Rights team lobbied successfully for the passing of the Olongapo City Anti-Prostitution Ordinance #51 and led a public discussion forum to educate the people on the dignity and rights of women and children. Last 25th of March we all marched from the Olongapo City hall with banners and placards to the gate of the former Military base and held a rally calling for the implementation of the law and for the city government to cancel permits given to sex bars and clubs. This was a historic first. Never was there such a public protest allowed on the streets.

The Preda Campaign of the 1990’s to close the military base and sex industry succeeded and now the former sprawling bases are booming industrial areas. The vice mongers and sex business trafficking women and children in to slavery is trying to comeback. Foreign sex tourists flock to the towns and villages. Mayors and officials give them licenses to set up sex bars. Women and children are being trafficked as sex slaves. We are combating it daily but corrupt police and prosecutors allow a culture of impunity to prevail.

Irish Aid funded seminars promotes democratic debate and combats Government indifference. Very few accused traffickers and child abusers are ever convicted. Cases drag on for years. The trivialization of child exploitation and sexual abuse has filtered down to the local village level where village officials settle child sex abuse cases as if misdemeanors. The abuser pays the parents compensation and up to 50% goes to the village officials. The Preda education team is working to stop this illegal practice supported by Irish Aid.

They held 53 seminars since January this year reaching 6,020 participants. In 2007 22,044 people were reached in 195 seminars. 30 children were rescued. Many were surely prevented too. In the first 2.5 months of 2008 nine girls were rescued and brought to the protection and care of the Preda Girls home. Many more still go unreported because of fear, shame and ignorance. There are now 53 girls in care. The team gives out pamphlets and a phone card for them to get immediate legal help and rescue for an abused child.

Trying to stop forced abortions is one more of our goals. Joyce and baby prince were in danger of being abducted and forced in to an abortion. The sexual abuse of a minor 12 years below carries a minimum of a 17 year to life jail sentence and so there are thousands of forced abortions to get rid of the evidence. Parents are threatened or paid to have it done in secret clinics. Abortion is illegal in the Philippines and everyone has sealed lips. For a 12 to 16 year old child it can be fatal and always traumatic.

We also alert the clergy and encourage them to take a stand with us against this evil of abortion and child abuse. The clergy are challenged to speak out and denounce it and support the victims and encourage reporting. Father Roque Villanueva spoke forcefully at our rally for women and children’s rights. Most clergy cower in embarrassed silence. The bishop of Iba, Zambales has yet to issue a pastoral letter about these evils and to visit the victims at the Preda children’s home.

Legal Action for Abused Children
It takes many months or years for prosecutors to decide on a complaint of an abused child. It is usually dismissed for “lack of evidence”. At Preda, the paralegal officer, Robert Garcia is presently handling a total of 70 court cases. No female lawyer has responded to our recruitment appeals. For the years 2006-2007 11 child abuses were dismissed and 2 convictions out of a total of 180.

The Preda legal team has monitored and assisted 180 cases in all in the past two years 70 of them are sexually abused children. Here is where they stand.

Awaiting Preliminary Investigation: 11
Under Prosecutors’ Investigation: 16
Filed in Courts: 7
On-going in courts: 13
Case Archived: 10
Dismissed: 11
Conviction: 2

There are many, many more victims coming to Preda for help. 84 cases of children in conflict with the law were helped in 2007 alone. The legal team has monitored and assisted in getting 25 dismissed, 51 are on going in the courts that we are trying to get dismissed. The remaining 8 are archived or have received a suspended sentence. Another 24 cases of trafficked, battered and abused women have received legal help and advice. The remainder are various complaints brought to Preda by victims of child abduction, custodial battles, school problems and the like.

One the most shocking case is that of a 3 year old girl allegedly abused by the father (a former live in partner) who is staying with her mother but whom we are assisting with medical and legal help. We helped the mother to file the case last week against the father. Listening, understanding, investigating and preparing the statements for all of these cases are stressful work. The inaction of prosecutors and long drawn out court proceedings with endless postponements month after month makes it frustrating. In the end for all 2006-2007 there were only 2 convictions of child abusers.

The Preda-Akbay theater group ready for European tour!

The Preda-Akbay theater group ready for European tour!

Preda Youth theatre group is invited (April 14 to May 28) to bring the anti-trafficking of persons musical drama to seven European countries, including the UK and Ireland. They are also invited to Sydney, Australia in July. The Preda-Akbay youth group are also training a group of young members to be eco-scouts to manage and operate an environmental training center at the Subic Bay rain forest in cooperation with Haribon the Philippine conservation organization. In April hundreds of youth will join the Arts Festival organized by PREDA, supported by Arts Venture.

Father Shay Cullen

Please support the work, send a donation to Preda Children’s Fund:

Permanent TSB,
#11, Upper George’s St. Dun Laoghaire. Co. Dublin
Ireland Account: Sorting code 990604 # 87930352
BIC code/ Swift code for PTSB – IPBSIE2D
IBAN – IE25IPBS99060487930352 or
Columban Fathers, Dalgan Park Navan, Ireland
Columban Fathers, Knowel, Solihull, B93 9AB, UK

Share

Copyright © 2017 · Preda Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved