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PREDA NEWSLETTER September 2002

September 2, 2002 · 

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Dear Friends and Defenders of Children,

The previous three months have been very busy, active and meaningful for the work of PREDA and to all of you who are our inspiration. Here is a summary of the major events from July to September.

Freeing the Jailed Children

The Jail Rescue Project is going very well. Since we began the project three months ago, we have contacted and helped sixteen children in jail, nine have been released, the youngest was eight and another was 12. We are still working on the release of many more. The Rescue and Legal Team of two PREDA staff has been re-enforced by two young Irish volunteer lawyers, James Nunan and Darach McNamara, and Kelly Wugalter, a Canadian Social Worker.
Up to 20,000 children and youth are prisoners all over the Philippines. Teenagers, mostly boys, are arrested and suffer illegal detention for days, weeks or even months. They are mixed with adult criminals, their rights severely violated. Most are there because of accusations of petty crimes such as being homeless (vagrancy) or for sniffing glue ( It reduces hunger pangs and blocks pain.)

Kids Victimized by Criminals

Some are victims of modern day Fagans who train them to be pick-pockets or petty thieves. Some of them are in cahoots with corrupt police. When there are serious complaints the kids are arrested publicly and the masterminds are untouched. Usually the arrest is a frame up. The police are ignorant of the law and the rights of children and suspects. They are frequently treated as guilty before they are even charged and punished with beatings and cigarette burnings. Children in prison become the sex toys and slaves by adult prisoners and even of the guards .They have to work to eat. They are exposed to virulent TB, AIDS and drug abuse. The daily allowance per meal is 8 cents.

Listening to Imprisoned Children

PREDA held a regional workshop for detained children, and brought children to participate in a national workshop facilitated by the PREDA-Akbay youth leaders. The children told of their ordeals and experiences of life on the streets and in prison. Shocking stories of torture by police and maltreatment were revealed by the minors. During a national press conference in September, the Tampered Declaration was adopted in the “International Conference on Children, Torture and Other Forms of Violence”. It was simultaneously launched in 8 countries. A child rescued from her abusers and recovered gave her life testimony to the media.

PREDA makes regular visits to the jails to rescue children from abuse and torture.

PREDA makes regular visits to the jails to rescue children from abuse and torture.

New Documentary Videos on PREDA

Following the success of the Irish Television documentary “Taking a Stand, (copies available on request please send a donation of $10 or E10, or £8 for copying and mailing). A German National TV station, ARD, came to make a similar report last July. It was broadcast in Germany last August. Another TV production is in the works for US Public Television (PBS). On the 21st of September, another report will be broadcast on GMA, a Philippine television station.

Another Nobel Peace Prize nomination for PREDA

PREDA and Fr. Shay will be nominated once again for the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2003 by German Parliamentarians. Fr. Shay is on a public education tour about the rights of children in Germany this September-October. On September 20, he was a guest speaker at the unveiling of the Mission (church agency) photo monument of child rights supporters before the German parliamentarians. He had meetings with the German Minister of Justice and the Human Rights Committee members.
The PREDA Child Rescue Team went undercover and poised as customers in bars and clubs in the Olongapo-Subic area and witnessed young underage teenage girls being made to strip naked and being offered as prostitutes mostly to foreigners. PREDA reported this abuse and two clubs were raided but PREDA social workers were not called to rescue and help the minors.
PREDA Files Libel Charge against American Suspect

In August, the PREDA legal team filed a libel suit against an American suspect who has been harassing PREDA staffers for years with false allegations. On an Irish television interview the American falsely accused Fr. Shay. His adopted son and house boy were accused by his six-year old daughter of sexual abuse; both are charged in court with this crime.

Childhood for Children

More sexually abused children continue to be referred to the children’s home by relatives and other agencies. There are now 40 children under therapy, care and rehabilitation. Kelly Wugalter, is also helping with the children’s cases. Schooling continues and most are getting good grades. Last March, one got the highest award and was named valedictorian. She is now enrolled in college.

The kids are very brave and determined and well prepared to testify in court against their abusers. Many have won their cases and their abusers are in jail. The process is slow and the children have to stay with PREDA until it is safe to return home and their abuser jailed. There is a move to repeal the death penalty law. This will be better for the children as their testimony will not lead to a death sentence as it may do at present, especially if it is their own father who raped them.

PREDA Kids Win Prize for Play

The children are very active in theater and recently won a $100 prize in Manila for their presentations of the ‘Prodigal Child’, and ‘Creation’. They were thrilled. They also went with the Spanish youth group to the tribal village to plant mango trees with the tribal people who are into sustainable organic farming and growing mango fruit. PREDA assists by donating over 200 young trees. The Spanish youth were on a training course in PREDA.

The children are very happy in their new home at the PREDA Center Extension which is safer and more secure and spacious . It was built with the financial help of the German children’s charity Kindernothilfe. The playground is on the upper covered deck so they can play even when it is raining or hot sunshine.

The PREDA- AKBAY Theater Group returned from a successful tour of Canada with their blockbuster hit play “The Truth Behind the Masks”. The play tells of the destructive impact of mining by Canadian firms and the trafficking into prostitution of the displaced villagers. It received standing ovations in many theaters and community centers. The group toured Western Canada supported by the Rainbow of Hope Children’s Rights group headed by George Bunz. The PREDA Fair Trade team were there also at the Klondike Festival which celebrated Filipino heritage. Fr. Shay was there too supporting the tour and the Fair Trade and had many public speaking engagements and media interviews..

The successful PREDA Theater Advocacy Group visiting the Fair Trade exposition at the Klondike Festival held at Edmonton, Canada.

The successful PREDA Theater Advocacy Group visiting the Fair Trade exposition at the Klondike Festival held at Edmonton, Canada.

History Haunts Philippine Secretary of Tourism in Canada

The Philippine Secretary of tourism showed up to preside over the opening of the Philippine pavilion in Edmonton but was miffed when he realized that the Governor General, the representative of the Queen would open it. He was further enraged when his name was accidentally omitted from the VIP list. The Secretary is the former mayor of Olongapo City and for many years presided over the growth of the sex industry and opposed the campaign of PREDA to close the US military base and end the sex industry. That was a highly successful PREDA campaign .The former mayor tried to close down the PREDA Children’s Home and denied all building permits and zoning clearances. We built despite the ban. He was behind several attempts to deport Fr. Shay . When the Canadian press began publishing the secretary’s background, with links to sex tourism he fled to the airport.

PREDA Fair Trade in Canada

Poverty alleviation is a major goal of the PREDA Fair Trade program. Helping people to help themselves is the guiding principle. By providing work and employment in the rural areas, we prevent some of the migration to the city slums where the children are vulnerable to disease, urban poverty, unhealthy living conditions and pimps and paedophiles. PREDA finds customers for their products thus brings prosperity to these impoverished villages. The Alternative Trading Organizations in Europe import handicrafts and food products at fair prices and good conditions. PREDA has one commercial importer in Ireland for the UK.

Trading in Canada

Last July the PREDA Fair Trade team shipped half a container load of handicrafts and mangoes to Edmonton to participate in the Klondike Fair Trade days. Mabelle Magno headed the team that went there with English volunteer Emma Le Beau. It was a hectic ten days of selling but still we did not sell all. Friends and supporters took the surplus and continue to sell at church bazaars and other affairs. They also displayed the Image of Angel Annie ,the stick figure of a child with a broken wing and a tear. (see page 2 photo)

Helping the Producers

From the earnings of the exports PREDA helps the producers organize themselves and funds development projects in the communities like buying a farm tractor, paying crippling land debts, provides interest free loans, gives design expertise and capability training to the producers. The PREDA agriculturist and community organizer Donard went to Bellisan in Antique the southern Philippines and helped small farm sugar cane growers improve production methods to improve the quality of Mascovado (dark brown) sugar. We helped banana chip producers in nearby Mapatag and helped them improve hygiene and quality . The sugar and banana chips are exported to a fair trade company in Italy.

Promoting organic farming of rice, vegetables and fruits is a project of PREDA to promote Fair Trade products. Two hundred mango seedlings at about two-meter tall were planted together with 162 neem trees. These produce natural insecticide and protect the fruit trees and eliminate the need for toxic chemical sprays.

Organic Certification Seminar

PREDA is working in cooperation with farmers’ cooperatives in Nueva Viscaya to help them produce organic mangoes. There were 67 farmers representing farmers organizations and cooperatives, government representatives. Representatives from the Organic Certification Center of the Philippine (OCCP) and Social Action Center of Gratia Plena shared inputs regarding organic farming practices and certification.

Grameen Bank Funding of Poorest Families

Perhaps the most successful low cost banking system in the world is the Grameen. Invented in Bangladesh and introduced into the Philippines, it is run by Fr. Sean Connaughton, a Columban Missionary. There are over 3000 participating families in our province. The loans are given exclusively to women. PREDA supports this work from some of the proceeds of the fair trading activities so that those too poor to ever participate in economic activity now have a chance to improve their lives. They are farmers, fisher folks, village traders, mango growers. They are helped with a small loan to start and sustain livelihood projects. They have a 90% repayment rate. There is also a social fund and a disaster fund to help all the members in time of emergency. This alleviates poverty on a wide scale and the organizational system and loans empowers the women. PREDA has given Euro ($)15,500.00 to this project from the earning of the Fair Trade.

PREDA youth together with Aeta youth leaders during the Tree Planting activity dubbed as "Mangga ng Buhay, Alay Kay Inang Kalikasan.

PREDA youth together with Aeta youth leaders during the Tree Planting activity dubbed as "Mangga ng Buhay, Alay Kay Inang Kalikasan.

Overseas Visitors

The Fair Trade Department organized the visit of 12 Spanish guests who came to live in local villages and learn about the work of PREDA They joined many PREDA activities including the tree planting and the visits to the tribal villages. Another Spanish Visitor was Cristina Roesl from Intermon, a fair trade organization. They went to several of our producer groups. Beatrice Bonadiman from Commercio Alternative in Italy also traveled to PREDA producers, sugar and mango farmers.

We send warm thanks and prayers to those who have send us donations either through the Columban Fathers or the PREDA Child Help P.O. Box 824, Sligo Post Office or sent a check in the mail .We pray harder for those who did not yet send anything, so that they may do so.

God bless you all.


Fr. Shay, the PREDA team and the kids

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