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The Rescue of Rose from the Ruins of Yolanda

June 22, 2014 · 

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by Angeli Eclevia

Last May 20-23, 2014 I was assigned by Preda Foundation to go to Tacloban City for another round of preventive seminars in the schools and villages  with the Preda psycho-social trafficking prevention education team. The city is still greatly damaged and many buildings have not bee rebuilt. The poor people live in small shanty one room hovels with metal scraps or plastic sheeting for walls and roofs. Some still by the sea shore  where they face another terrible typhoon. But there is another typhoon blowing against children, trafficking and sexual abuse.

Unexpectedly an urgent call  reached the Preda team to help rescue a child being sexually abused in her home by her own grandfather. Our paralegal officer had returned to Preda Olongapo after helping rescued orphans and trafficked children. I was called upon to rescue this child Rose, its not her real name.

I am not a social worker and this was a new mission and challenge for me. But then anybody can rescue and help a sexually abused child if they have the determination to do so and to learn the steps by experience. We at Preda are trained to respond to every situation and to use our ability like everybody  should.

When I arrived at the Preda team office I learned the person who reported the case of  abuse was the Barangay Kagawad (village official, her name is Violly). She had taken a Preda training seminar and was putting into action what he learned. Jeddah the Preda trainee and I went to Brgy. 62B and looked for Kagawad Violly. We got all the information from her, a women dedicated to helping children. According to her the grandfather of the child, we call her Rose just 12 years-old, was not there at that time. Jeddah and I went to the house of Rose to listen to her story.

She told us what had happened to her. According to Rose the abuse started after Typhoon Yolanda when they moved back into their damaged house. The first sexual act against her was during Christmas day and the second time was during New year’s day. They were his Christmas and New years gift he said. The last one was just this last month of May.

Rose showed us the side of her knee with a big bump on it, her grandfather hit her after he came to know that she disclosed the abuse to the Kagawad. During our talk with Rose her father was not there, only her Uncle and her stepmother. Her Uncle couldn’t believe it, her stepmother said she does not know if it’s true but according to her to could have happened. They were reluctant to believe the child and go against the grandfather. This caused her get distress, not to believed. Why would she make up  such a terrible lie, she said, and she was crying.

We asked family’ to support the the child and also talked to the Kagawad to take the child into protective custody because her grandfather might  hurt the child and threaten her to stay quite. But bravely she said she wasn’t afraid to tell all what happened.

I also gave her the Preda hotline number on the Preda contact infomation yellow card and told her to text the Angel Annie hotline anytime she felt threatened or need immediate help. After that I called Sir Francis Bermido at Preda in Olongapo and informed him about it. He told me that the child must be rescued.

He told me to go to the  government social worker for that area and report the case and  ask for assistance to rescue the child. So we went to the  office of the social worker and the officer there made a note and told  us to go to the women’s shelter. We went to the women’s shelter but the officer there told us that we have to look for  the  social worker assigned to sexual abuse cases her name is Maam Manadong. So we went back to the social workers office from the women’s shelter.

We found her and she recorded the report but she told us that we have to go to the police station first for the blotter and to request for a mobile vehicle to go rescue the abused child. We went to the police station just beside the women’s shelter and the police officer said that we have to go to San Jose police station and report it there and get assistance as it  was not their  jurisdiction. However the women police officer called the police officer at  San Jose and they coordinated there action and gave us  a police vehicle with 3 police officers and with Maam Manadong (RSW) we went to San Jose police station and after that went straight to the house of Rose  and after some  discussion with her relatives we rescued her. Then with the child we went straight to Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center for medico legal examination. We’ve waited for like 5 hours because the doctor was busy in the delivery room.

After the Medico-legal examination, we accompanied Rose to the women’s shelter and Maam Manadong introduce her to the other abused girls who are staying there.Rose was happy to be safe and protected and saw she had friends who understood her and had suffered the same as her. We went out  and bought her food as all  food at shelter had been eaten. Then when the child was safe and well it was past midnight  when we got to our beds and fell asleep being so very tired.

The next week Marlyn Capio ,the Preda social worker and outreach paralegal officer went to Tacloban to coordinate the enrollment and to distribute educational assistance and school supplies to the 81 orphans and 7 children rescued from traffickers and for Rose the sexually abused child we rescued from her abusive grandfather. Marlyn visited Rose and she is happy to be free from the abuser and is protected and gets therapy. Its a better future for her because of the Preda Yolanda recovery project helped by our friends and supporters.

Angeli Eclevia
Preda Children’s rights advocate and public speaker

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