Tag Archives: PREDA Foundation

[People] The Holocaust and Freedom from Racism -by Fr. Shay Cullen

#HumanRights #Racism

The Holocaust and Freedom from Racism
Shay Cullen
29 January 2021

Every year on 27 January, the most horrific crimes of genocide and mass murder on an industrial scale by the criminal Nazi regime in Germany are remembered. As Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “They who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” These crimes must never be allowed to be repeated although they have been. In a premeditated planned genocide, six million Jews and other minorities and political prisoners were exterminated by individual and mass shootings. Hundreds of thousands were worked to death, killed by starvation, and millions more gassed to death and burnt in the ovens of the infamous concentration and extermination camps that the Nazis built around Europe. This happened during their vicious and brutal conquest of Europe from 1939 to 1945.

I have been to visit the extermination camp at Buchenwald, near the City of Weimar. It was a terrible place of isolation, cruelty and mass murder. In the countryside, it was bitterly cold and forbidding. I saw a massive prison camp surrounded by an electrified fence. There was no escape for the hundreds of thousands of political prisoners, prisoners of war, Jewish people, Roma people, mixed race people and Afro-Germans. Anyone who disagreed with the Nazi regime was sent to the death camps where the SS death squads executed them.

I walked around the camp. The wooden huts where the prisoners slept were demolished. In a concrete building in the corner of the camp with a tall chimney, I saw the “murder room.” One by one, prisoners stood against the wall to have their height measured and they were shot dead through a hole in the wall. In the basement, there is a room with hooks fixed in the cement ceiling. The innocent prisoners with hands and legs tied and a wire around their necks were hung to slowly die by strangulation. Then, their bodies were placed in a large metal bin that was elevated to the extermination room where six large ovens were continually incinerating the bodies like rubbish. Outside, a greatly enlarged photograph showed a large pile of emaciated bodies of those who died of cruel starvation or firing squad waiting to be delivered to the ovens. Prisoners were forced to do the dirty work.

Memorials of these crimes are held every year by a repentant German people and a new generation all over Germany. Many monuments honouring and remembering the victims have been built so that every German and people everywhere will mourn, be informed, be aware and strengthened in their resolve that such crimes and neo-Nazi hateful ideology and racism in any form are resisted, opposed and countered by peace initiatives. There have been genocides since. In Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Sudan, Iraq, Cambodia, Myanmar, the list goes on and on. The Jewish people were the main target of hatred and racism by the Nazis. The Nazis arrested and deported everyone to the death camps, to be systematically beaten and gassed to death, six million in all, one million were children

People everywhere have to take a stand against such arbitrary killings and atrocities and never standby in silence and allow it to happen without protest. Such silence is to approve and give consent by inaction and be an accomplice to the crime. To stand against such killings, people need a conscience formed by the Gospel values of human rights and dignity to repudiate and condemn such murders, war crimes and genocide. Here, we condemn as evil and wrong all such killings.

The Nazi regime was built on a political party of national socialism that was racist and politically extreme right wing. They believed themselves to be the white supremacists destined to conquer and rule by violence, if necessary. Adolf Hitler, an Austrian migrant, got German citizenship by astute political manipulation. The mainstream political parties compromised with his racist policies and ideology and paved his way to total power. He became chancellor and his cult-like fanatical followers started a fire in the parliament building, The Bundestag, and he blamed the communists and had them all arrested and thrown out of Parliament by presidential decree. Then, his Nazi party had a majority and he ruled Germany with an iron fist and worked to exterminate the Jews and the communists.

When we see the white supremacists and neo-Nazi extreme right-wing groups in Europe and in the United States marching with Nazi swastika flags and symbols, and a US President supporting them, we should think of Hitler and summon up the courage to stand and oppose by word and action this insidious racist political movement.

Everyone ought to support the freedoms and human dignity and freedom of true, fair democracy or for sure we will lose them. This white supremacist ideology has divided America, threatens parts of Europe as neo-Nazis proliferate once again, spreading hatred and violence against migrants.

Some member states of the EU have right wing populists in power and they pass odious oppressive laws. The police and armed forces of America and Europe are reportedly infiltrated by racist neo-Nazi sympathizers, it seems.

Witness the killing and harassment and abuse of so many immigrants, asylum seekers and people of colour in Europe and the United States. It is a poison affecting the police day by day, a dangerous trend of what has yet to come. The police brutality is inciting protests and demonstrations themselves. Witness the Black Lives Matter movement, demonstrations in Belarus, Lebanon, Tunisia and many more.

Complacency, ignorance, apathy, indifference and tolerance that give consent and support for such racism is participating in the politics of racism, hatred and violence. We should not be surprised that the US Capitol was attacked by these Neo-Nazi groups trying to overthrow the democratic process egged on by President Trump and blaming the progressive groups for its ransacking and desecration. It smacks of Hitler-like dirty tricks in burning the Bundestag.

The reluctance of the Republican members of the US Senate to convict Trump for this blatant attack on the Capitol, the heart of democratic processes, is shocking and disgusting. They are in effect condoning this criminal action by the Trump mob. The Trump followers have to throw off the mesmerisation and worship of the Trump cult and admit they have been duped and lied to and reject all that hatred and racism that Trumpism promotes and encourages. They must resist and break free from the manipulation by social media. Freedom from racism and hatred is the freedom to love our neighbour in peace and with understanding.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] Christmas Newsletter for 2020 -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Christmas Newsletter for 2020
Shay Cullen
19 December 2020

We are sharing with you some of the highlights of the work of Preda Foundation in 2020. We at Preda wish you all a blessed Christmas.

Many children saved
As many as a hundred children have been saved and recovered at the five Preda homes for abused children in 2020, a happy record of healing and empowerment. One of the important highlights during 2020 is that all the children and the staff have thankfully remained free of Covid-19. The protective measure implemented and strictly maintained has made this possible. During the last year, we were able to receive in our homes 41 girls, rescued and saved from sex abusers, human traffickers, and sex slavery. At present, there are 43 children in the homes for girls. The youngest is three years old. They were welcomed, given affirmation, support, and all their personal needs as soon as they arrived. This year, several were reintegrated.

Healing and empowerment
Grace,13 years old, was raped by her biological father. Her mother held her down while she was raped. A horrific heinous crime. She was threatened not to tell. But she bravely told her sister who told a neighbour. It got to the police and she was rescued and referred to the Preda home. She is now safe and has begun to heal and recover from the trauma she experienced. With the other children, Grace joined many activities and volunteered to take Emotional Release Therapy. In the padded therapy room, she cried and shouted out her pain and anger at her abusive parents. The children slowly emerge from their fear and trauma, feeling free and begin to smile for the first time in years.

Many convictions of abusers in 2020
Legal action by the healing and empowered children in Preda homes has been very successful in 2020 despite the lockdown and closure of the courts for several months. In 2020 the children, assisted by Preda, succeeded in winning 16 convictions against their rapists and traffickers. In one major case, a young trafficker and pimp that sold two young girls to a foreign paedophile many times to be abused received two life sentences in Angeles City. The US national was able to escape. The family tried to abduct the child witness from Preda to stop the case but failed. In 2019, the children won 20 convictions and most of the convicted received life sentences so they will not be able to rape any more children. There are many more cases filed by Preda children pending to be resolved by the prosecutors and others are stuck up in the court judicial system waiting for a court hearing, some since 2014. For the first time in our history, the children participated in court hearings online, a more child-friendly way than appearing in the court room with the abuser present.

Saving boys from sub-human jails
The Preda Foundation has two homes for male children in conflict with the law (CICL), one in Zambales and one in Cebu. We rescue the boys from filthy, abusive, and sub-human government detention centers and jails. They are frequently subjected to abuse and even torture by older inmates and abusive guards. In 2020, Preda rescued more than 30 boys and brought them to start a new life in the Preda home for boys in conflict with the law in Zambales. In Cebu, we rescued 15 boys and they are recovering in the Preda New Dawn Home in Liloan.

Commission on Human Rights investigates
In Preda, the children, some as young as 10 years old, told their stories of torture and abuse in government detention jails. Preda reported it to the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and with help from international supporters, the Philippine CHR was encouraged to open an investigation. The investigators confirmed and verified the torture and they are taking measures to monitor and prevent more such torture.

Preda contributed to the drafting of a new anti-trafficking ordinance in Olongapo City and conducted the first rescue of 18 trafficked women, among them four minors, at a beach resort in Barangay Barretto. The minors were referred to Preda home for healing.

Preventing changes in law, releasing children
In 2020, Preda Foundation continued and increased its lobbying with other NGOs to stop the changing of the child protection law to reduce the age of criminal liability to 12 years old and succeeded to maintain it at 15 years of age. Then, we campaigned during the pandemic for the release of children from detention canters and as many as 350 children were released by the authorities to their parents. Some children were rescued by Preda social workers. However, many more minors with pending cases remain in jails.

Helping Indigenous Children and Families
On 4 December 2020, the Preda Foundation turned over six laptops and installed a full CCTV system in the St. Francis Learning Centre in Subic town for the use of indigenous Aeta children of Zambales.

The learning centre is an excellent boarding and day school exclusively for indigenous children run by the Franciscan Sisters that gives them a peaceful environment to learn together without the discrimination, bullying, racist remarks, teasing and exclusion that some lowland children inflict on the indigenous children. These drive them to drop out of other schools. The laptops were donated by Paul Gorrie of the The Navigator Network.

Buying Mangos and Sharing Relief Food
Preda has worked with 361 Aeta subsistence farmers in Zambales and provided them with relief food packages consisting of ten kilos of rice and mixed groceries, for four times in 2020. Also, similar food relief packages were distributed to 320 poor families and snacks, candies and toys for their children in Olongapo City area three times in 2020.

Preda bought at higher fair trade prices the internationally organic-certified Pico 21 tons and Indian mangos 35.50 tons from the 77 Aeta families out of 10 communities that have mango crops this year. Preda Fairtrade shared out bonus payments of Php140,000 to the Aeta families. The mangos are made into organically-certified mango puree.

Mango Sapling Distribution.
Also, with the help of the Columban Fathers and Merry Year Foundation in South Korea, we provided the Aeta with 2,000 mango saplings. The Aeta families planted them over the mountains of Zambales to help them reforest and strengthen their claim to their ancestral lands and preventing mining companies and grabbers stealing their lands. In Mindanao, the Preda bought 659 tones of Fair Trade mangos from the members of our small farmers Fair Trade association. The mangos are all for export as dried mangos and conventional purees to World Shops in Germany and the UK.

Preda accreditation and higher standards.
The Preda Foundation is a DSWD-licensed and accredited social welfare and development agency, founded in 1974. It is accredited by local government and it has now reached the highest status and standard of excellence. It has been accredited in 2020 by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) and as a result it has been certified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) as a “Donee Institution” since 9 November,2020. Philippine donors are exempted from paying the 30 percent donor’s tax. All donations will go to the children, none to administration.

New Partnership with UN agencies
The United Nations Anti-trafficking and Anti-slavery agencies have recognized Preda as a high standard organization for helping trafficked, enslaved and abused children and has granted partial funding for 2020 and 2021.

Awards marked
In November, Preda marked the anniversary of the awarding of the prestigious International Martin Buber Plaque Prize for defending children’s rights. In January 2021 Preda will mark its fourth nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Preda was nominated by the German Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Barbel Koefler. It was endorsed by several members of the German Parliament. That makes the total number of international awards for defending human rights 17. Despite the spread of the Covid-19, lockdowns, and economic downturn the work of the Foundation has succeeded and will continue in the years ahead with your support and help.

View the latest video at https://youtu.be/G0fFNmHSYic Contact Preda Foundation at predainfo@preda.org and http://www.preda.org

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[People] Human Trafficking: A Scourge on Humanity -by Shay Cullen

#HumanRights Human Trafficking: A Scourge on Humanity
Shay Cullen

20 November 2020

Human trafficking and child sexual abuse is still alive and thriving in the Philippines. Online sexual abuse of children is everywhere, it seems, and more has to be done by the telecommunication corporations to stop it. That’s why this heinous crime against small children to satisfy the sexual lust of foreign pedophiles is so abhorrent. Shame on all who allow it to happen with impunity. The Philippines has become the hub for such crimes. The National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) in Olongapo and from Manila has rescued 18 women and children and arrested three human traffickers recently.

In Angeles City this week, two children were rescued and two pimps, both minors, were arrested and turned over to the social workers of Angeles City. A US national, Nicholas Pyant, was arrested by the Philippine National Police in a room with children and should be charged with sexual assault and rape of young children. Pyrant was under surveillance for weeks and is allegedly a known child predator.

In Barrio Baretto, Olongapo City minors are brought to sex hotels to be sold as sex slaves to customers. They are a hub for spreading the coronavirus and human trafficking. The sex industry exists for the sexual gratification of foreign sex tourists and rich locals and earns huge profits for the foreign and local owners of the sex bars and hotels.

The social workers of the Preda Foundation are very active in intelligence gathering and provided vital information and assisted in the recent rescue of the trafficked women and minors in the Barretto night club district. The four minors were referred to the Preda Home for Girls where they are safe from the sex mafia and the families of the human traffickers. At the Preda home, they receive full support, affirmation, counselling, emotional release therapy and education and value formation to prepare them to have a normal, happy life. You can view life in the Preda Homes on Preda Foundation Youtube channel https://youtu.be/G0fFNmHSYic

The Preda home will assist the minors in bringing charges against their abusers and traffickers. Together, we win several convictions of traffickers and child rapists every year. In 2018, we had 18 convictions. In 2019 we helped the children win 20 convictions leading to life sentences. This year 2020, 13 convictions have been won so far. There would be more but due to the pandemic the courts were closed.

Fighting for justice is a very important healing therapy for the children to get justice and to testify in court what the abusers did to them. Most victims/survivors are teenagers. Some are only three years old and six-year-old. They can then have a happy, secure life knowing that their traffickers and rapists are behind bars and can abuse no more children. Some of the teenage children victims of human trafficking also want to be advocates for children’s rights and to speak out as is their right of free expression. They volunteer and sign on to be child rights advocates, a brave and courageous action to take. While we adults do everything to protect their identity, we cannot stop them from exercising their human and civil rights to speak out against human trafficking and advocate children’s rights.The #MeToo movement is a way for women and children to experience freedom from abuse and to fight for justice and many young survivors want to be part of it.

It is adults that allow the sexual exploitation of children in the first place.The horrific child sex abuse business that is a scourge today in the Philippines is due to the former presence of the US Naval Base at Subic Bay, Olongapo City. Thousands of women and children were exploited and abused in hundreds of sex bars catering to the US Navy personnel. It was a wonderland of sex fantasy and abuse. Pedophiles flocked there and the sex mafia systematically and efficiently allowed them to sexually exploit, rape and abuse children. The government allowed and promoted it and the rich made millions of dollars.

In 1983, I discovered a child sex abuse syndicate selling children as young as nine years old to US sailors. I broke that story in the media and instead of being recognized for taking a stand for justice and truth and child protection, I was vilified by local government officials at the time and I was brought to trial at the Bureau of Immigration to be deported. The charge was that my child protection work and writing was bringing Olongapo City and its officials into disrepute. They felt I was blaming them for the child sex industry. They denied all responsibility despite a high profile military court case in Guam that brought a US officer to trial for child sexual abuse in Olongapo City. A sad state of affairs indeed.

That’s how journalists and child rights campaigners fighting for the dignity of the Filipinos were dealt with. However, I won my case, was found innocent and continued my work protecting human rights from my base in the Preda Foundation. When the city officials said they would close the Preda home for children, I said it would be better to close the US Naval Base. An idea was born and I started a “Life after the Bases” campaign to close the US military bases and convert them to civilian economic zones. It was amazing then how many people, in the Catholic Philippines, were hostile and negative to that vision of hope and help.

However, against all opposition, I promoted that idea and it caught on and a coalition of civil society members was formed that eventually persuaded the Philippine Senate to vote against the continuation of the US military bases. The conversion plan I formulated was eventually implemented and Subic Bay is now a thriving industrial area giving jobs with dignity to thousands of Filipinos. Human trafficking never really ceased and years later it began to make a comeback as tourism was promoted. So, today we are still fighting this scourge against humanity and protecting Filipino children.

http://www.preda.org

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[People]The Explosion of Child Abuse Online -by Fr. Shay Cullen

The Explosion of Child Abuse Online
Fr. Shay Cullen

02 October 2010

The Covid-19 pandemic is on everybody’s mind, weighs on the spirit and invades the body, paralyzes social life, and cripples the world economy. Yet, people are adapting, surviving, recovering, and are resilient. They, but a few, are coping with the new normal, a reality that the virus is here to stay for a while longer and we have to live and survive it.

The best of human nature is seen in the dedicated service of health care workers. The risk, they sacrifice, they serve. Many tragically die helping others live. What an inspiration they are as they are saving lives and giving back health to the patients with Covid-19.

It is a privilege to help the poor, the sick and the abused children. They are emotionally, physically, and psychologically damaged by the brutal abuse of criminal adults. The dark side of human nature is always with us but now child abuse is expanding like another pandemic due to lock down.

The live streaming of child sexual abuse and the proliferation of pornography that lead to rape has grown. It is the secret crime, done alone to weak vulnerable children that are threatened and terrified to tell of their suffering and ordeal.

For many, it is the perfect crime but brave and courageous children and child defenders and advocates are fighting back. Wherever there are children, there will be abusers. The only gadget needed today to have online live streaming of child abuse is a low-cost smartphone and an internet connection. The internet service providers of the big telecommunication corporations like PLDT/Smart and Globe Telecoms and soon Dito Telecommunity make it all possible. They should have a greater corporate responsibility to block the abusive images and video passing through their servers. If they obey the law Republic Act 9775, they would install blocking software to prevent child sexual abuse. Solutions are available. Microsoft PhotoDNA and video DNA can filter and block the abusive images but the ISPs allegedly prefer to pay a small fine rather than protect the children. Senator Imee Marcos has filed a Senate resolution No.487 calling for an investigation into the dismal failures of the telecommunications corporations and their ISPs to block child pornography and live to a stream of child abuse under the law.

Jasmin is an 11-year-old child (not her real name) when she was groomed on-line and persuaded by her fake friend to send nude photos of herself and her private parts in return for money. Foolishly, she did it and too late she realized she had been fooled and her pictures appeared as child pornography online via Facebook and likely sold around the world to paedophiles. She is in shock and screams in anger and frustration in the therapy room at the Preda home where she sought help.

Many other children and adults are victims of similar sextortion scams and are being extorted for huge amounts of money by the scammers who lure them into exposing themselves foolishly online. The extortionists are threatening to send the photos to their friends, classmates, parents, and teachers. Suicides are common.

The pedophiles, many unable to travel and abuse children themselves, pay adults to perform sexual acts to children while live over the Internet for money. This is despicable, depraved, and deserving of life in prison. They are like blood-sucking bats that take the lifeblood from their victims.

Even Jesus of Nazareth told us the child is the most important in the world and abusers ought to have a millstone tied around their necks and he be thrown into the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:1-7) That’s tough talk indeed. We have to work for justice for the victims.
Child abuse is with us that long and the world religions, the self-appointed guardians of human morality that claim to be the protectors of children, have betrayed the trust given to them. Many clergies have abused children and it is covered up. It was treated lightly, not the heinous crime it truly is for which abusers must be challenged and held accountable.

Non-government organizations, children’s charities, and government agencies are fighting human trafficking and child abuse. In 2018, Preda children fought back against their rapists and won 18 convictions. In 2019, they won 20 convictions. Almost all got life sentences in jail. Hopefully, more convictions will follow in on-going cases being fought by Preda.

The spreading of child pornography on the Internet to mobile phones incite child rapists to abuse. A child recently rescued by Preda Foundation social workers was Rebecca (not her real name), 14. She was living in a small town in Zambales in dire poverty with her mother. They lived in a small, one-room shack made of bamboo slats and a tin roof. Rebecca is mentally challenged, and her adult male neighbors preyed upon her and raped her many times. They threatened her with a knife if she called out. It happened when she was left alone in the shack and the abuse continued until she became pregnant. Rebecca is now safe in the protection and care of the Preda Foundation home for abused children. The Preda Center will heal and help the child pursue justice against her rapists and have them convicted.

Even children view child pornography and are aroused and as reported here previously three boys in Subic town, Zambales, the youngest 10, gang-raped a six-year-old. In Sta. Cruz, Zambales, a 13-year old boy sexually assaulted a six-year-old girl. The abusers in both these cases were not even reprimanded. In the Subic case, the local authorities allowed the boys to go to relatives in another town instead of getting them counseling and rehabilitation. In the Sta. Cruz case. The boy is still in the community instead of being brought to an Intensive Juvenile Intervention and Support Center. They will likely become adult rapists without help.

This is what is going on daily all over the country. Unless there is less talk and empty promises and more direct positive action to curb online sexual abuse of children, it will only continue to get worse. All who want to help, write your concern to Congresswoman Yeda Marie Romualdez, chairperson of the Committee on the Welfare of Children (https://www.facebook.com/YeddaRomualdez) and Senator Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children and Family Relations (risahq@gmail.com), for them to investigate and challenge the ISPs and bring strict control to the spread of child abuse on the Internet and protect the rights of the children.

shaycullen@gmail.com

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[People] Corruption and Spread of Covid-19 -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Corruption and Spread of Covid-19
Fr. Shay Cullen
24 September 2020

There are many global threats facing the world today. The most serious in everybody’s mind is the Coronavirus pandemic with 200,000 dead in the USA alone and spreading. It is a cause of shock and realization that we humans for all our economic, military and medical power is very weak and vulnerable to the invisible virus that has invaded our world, our communities, families and our bodies. Some nations have had success in controlling it; others have failed through incompetence and corruption.

Martha has a cheerful, happy-go-lucky personality, a healthy mother of four. On a recent Saturday evening, she forgot herself and went to a house party with friends to celebrate a birthday. She ignored precautions as did others and wrongly believed it wouldn’t touch her. But it did. By Friday, she was having strong coughing and fever symptoms and reactions and was rushed to the overcrowded hospital. There is painful convulsions, Martha struggled and gasped for breath, isolated from family, only the nurse, dressed in blue plastic, went to help her. It was no use, Martha quickly fell silent and died. It was her weak lungs, they said. Some underlying health condition said another. No one really knows why she died so quickly. There was no time for an autopsy, not even a proper funeral. She was brought straight to the crematorium, leaving behind a weeping crying, traumatized family.

There are hundreds of thousands of people like Martha and more of them every day. A mistake took away her precious, beautiful, happy life and that of her family. But it is also the many mistakes of the politicians that have failed to act decisively in time to lead and instruct the people that Covid-19 is a dangerous deadly virus with the power to kill and maim. They fail to insist that everyone must wear masks, avoid contact with others, disinfect, wash their hands frequently since anyone may have the deadly killer virus. It is spreading because many people ignore these precautions and corrupt, inadept and stupid failed leaders do not order and impose protective measures to save the vulnerable people and issue strong, consistent health warnings. They have failed to implement and insist on a national response to test and trace the infected people and isolate them. How else can this vicious virus that spreads like venom be contained? Those strong, respected leaders who did respond to the attack of Covid-19 in a wiser, more scientific and disciplined and educated manner saved hundreds of thousands of their citizens, which is their sworn duty.

In the nations with the highest death rates, it seems they have restricted the showing of videos of mass burials, lines of waiting coffins, full crematoriums, overcrowded hospitals, dying people and sick doctors and nurses. It is too shocking. Is it for some an effort to deny and cover up the real extent of their incompetence, criminal behaviour and lack of moral conscience all for the sake of retaining political power? Covid-19 is spreading and causing more sickness and death because of some selfish, pleasure-seeking and irresponsible people who flout precautions and care for no one other than themselves. In their ignorance, they demonstrate against the safety precautions no less.

It is our fervent hope and belief that the majority of humans are good, law-abiding people that care for others, protect them from Covid-19 and care for the public health and environment. They choose the good over evil. They act in a responsible way of saving their own lives, their families and neighbours. The people who do believe and choose to do the good and practice the values of love of the stranger, of neighbour and work for justice, have a responsibility to share those values so that equality, peace and harmony can be a reality in society. We should actively persuade and convince others to do likewise. Inactivity in the face of wrong is to allow it to grow and prosper.

It may seem like mission impossible to persuade the virus deniers and the climate sceptics of the truth of a pandemic and global warming. We have to challenge and call out the oppressors, corrupt leaders and politicians to do justice, respect the rights of all, to care and protect the public health and to serve humbly. To convince these people who live in darkness that it is a better life to be in the light and to bring happiness to people, not terror, oppression, pain, suffering, rights violations and death. It is a mission to persuade ordinary people to always choose the good over evil. It is a challenge for all to teach by a good example, taking action for justice and accepting and living the truth that justice and goodness is the path to happiness for all. It is a great shining ideal, but will it ever come to be?

This is the goal we must work for. There is so much evil in the world that allows the virus to spread uncontrolled in many countries, mostly among the poor. We see much irresponsible selfish behaviour by some national leaders, bankers, industrialists, military, police and criminals. We know that abuse and evil persist because they with the power choose the evil and reject the good as they exercise their free will corruptly. The evil comes from making the wrong choice to crush and hurt others to retain political and economic power and to plunder the nation. For them, the health and well-being of others is just a matter of lip-service, words without meaning, action without purpose, hypocrisy and skulduggery for selfish personal gain. The great hope is that a society, a nation, will evolve with the beautiful values, principles, and compassion that motivate overwhelming good that is the paramount driving force that brings happiness to all.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] Child Abuse over the Internet -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Child Abuse over the Internet
Fr. Shay Cullen
28 May 2020

They are the two latest arrivals at the Preda Foundation’s beautiful home for exploited children set in the countryside surrounded by wooded hills beside a small stream. The children are Pedro, 12, and Angelica, 7, victims of online sexual abuse perpetrated by the uncle with the knowledge of their parents. They are now rescued and are happily playing with toys and recovering from the abuse.

They were rescued from an abusive uncle who sexually abused them. He made a video whereby he put his cell phone into his briefs and blindfolded the children and told them to look for it. He videotaped the sexual abuse that followed and uploaded it on YouTube. He was detected and the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) of Region 4A tracked him down and arrested him.

A week previously, three more child victims of cyber sexual abuse were rescued also through the intervention of the International Justice Mission (IJM) together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the PNP-WCPC. The children were brought by government social workers to the Preda home. The government has no more capacity for the victims and has no commitment to financially support them at the Preda home. They had been sexually abused by their own step-mother in online exposure to Australian pedophiles over the Philippine internet service providers either PLDT/Smart or Globe when arrested. These companies are violating Philippine law by not blocking child pornography and allowing live streaming of child sexual abuse. Soon, there may be international sanctions against them if they don’t obey the Philippine and international laws to protect children online.

The Philippines is a global hot spot of child sexual abuse online. It is growing more severe with the Coronavirus lock-down and restricted international travel. Many more foreign pedophiles are seeking sexual gratification by having children abused live online while they watch. Parents and relatives are the perpetrators and the ISPs that enable it.

The frequency and number of reported incidents of online sexual child abuse have exploded. The US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which operates the Cyber Tipline Report (CTR), has a hotline for cases of online exploitation of children and has recorded 279,166 reports from March 1 to May 24, 2020, according to the Philippine Department of Justice. The number is greater by 264.63 percent or by 202,605 incidents in comparison to the figures recorded at this time last 2019. Then there were 76,561 reports of on-line sexual abuse of small children. This a shocking and disgusting figure of this heinous crime. The NCMEC is a US private non-government agency funded by the US government.

Another study led by the International Justice Mission (IJM) shows that Philippine internet-based child sexual abuse had tripled in the past three years. The study showed that the number of Philippine IP accounts that were used for child sexual exploitation online increased from about 23,333 in 2014 to the whopping total of 81,723 by 2017. So over a three year period, the increase in the number of Internet IP addresses used that shared images and acts of sexual abuse of children increased from 43 per 10,000 IP addresses to 149 per 10,000 IP addresses- a massive and shocking increase in the child sexual abuse of Filipino children.

This evil inclination of the pedophiles and their enablers that are damaging thousands of children shows a serious failure of irresponsible government officials to implement existing laws to protect the nation’s children. The enablers that make it possible are the internet server providers such as PLDT/Smart and Globe Telecommunications. Soon, a new player DITO Telecommunity will be a provider of access to the internet.

The ever vigilant and straight-talking man of action, President Rodrigo Duterte, intolerant of child sexual abuse, must use all his presidential power to protect the children and get the National Telecommunication Commission, headed by Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba and Deputy Commissioner Delilah F. Delesto to explain why the Electronic and Internet Service Providers such as PLDT/Smart and Globe have not installed detection software to block the uploading and downloading of child pornography and online live-streaming of the sexual abuse of children as provided by law.

The NTC was so quick to issue a “Cease and Desist Order” against ABS-CBN for no fault other than the non-renewal of its franchise but how much more important is the protection of little children, some three-year-olds from online sexual abuse about which the NTC appears to do nothing, favoring PLDT and Globe? These powerful Internet Servers PLDT headed by Manuel V. Pangilinan and Globe headed by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala must answer for the child abuse that is happening over their internet servers. Have they “captured” the regulators at the NTC and have an arrangement NOT to implement the clear provisions of the law? Would they lose the revenue of more than 82,000 or even 100,000 paying customers perhaps?

Republic Act 9557, under Section 9, says: “The duties of Internet Server Providers (ISP) to monitor the content passing through their servers notify the police of illegal content and provide the authorities the particulars of users who gained or attempted to gain access to an Internet address which contains any form of child pornography. All ISPs shall install available technology, program, or software to ensure access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.” (See the complete law at http://www.preda.org). The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, Republic Act No. 10175 bans cybersex and child pornography, among other things.

What appears to be a collusion between government agencies and the telecommunications companies enables 24/7 access to horrific images of children being tortured, raped, and abused. The pernicious and evil abuse of online streaming of children being sexually abused must be stopped by the NTC and the ISPs. Can President Duterte be the one man that can do it? Who are the worst criminals? They who do it? They who order and pay for it? Or those in the NTC and ISPs who enable it to happen? All three must be held to account and face the sanctions of the just laws.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] Without a Mother’s Love -Fr. Shay Cullen

Without a Mother’s Love
Fr. Shay Cullen
15 May 2020

In many places, people are enjoying the freedom of release from lock-down and so they should in safety and with great care so that they do not infect anyone else if they are asymptomatic. Our lives are changed and our lifestyle has to adapt, adjust, and all in the name of staying healthy and virus-free and they need to survive. With the number of infections going down in some places and going up in others, we can never be too careful as we all want to survive.

On Mother’s Day, we celebrated the love of our good loving mothers. But some children forget the love their mother had for them and I share with you a poem below. The audio of it can be found on http://www.preda.org by this link https://www.preda.org/2020/the-prayer-of-the-prodigal/

The Prayer of the Prodigal
She bore me in her womb, a mother as good as gold
She nurtured me with mother’s milk as I grew so big and strong
And then the years were passing and she was growing weak and old,
I forgot her love and care and I know I was truly wrong

I lost my way and traveled far and still I see her hair
Once a shiny brown that had slowly turned to gray,
I saw her wrinkled features and there was nothing I could say
But to mourn her sudden passing and wish I had been there.

Mother, listen to me cry, my voice is in this song
The corona came and took you and we knew it was so wrong
They didn’t have the things you need, and you were lost to me and all.
The medics tried to save you and risked their very lives
The corona got them too and still the virus spreads and thrives.

I felt so helpless and so alone and wished there was more I could have done,
but all I had was pain and there was nowhere I could run.
Now I see the value of living, good and true,
I promise now to change my ways and take your good advice
Lord, hear me too and forgive me not only once but thrice.

The days have passed me by and peace I now have found.
I kneel and pray and kiss your grave and bless the Holy ground.
Together we will overcome the suffering and the fear
May life return to normal and may your presence be close and near.

Such is the great value of life and yet through neglect and wanton incompetence so many good beautiful people have died because of Coronavirus. They could indeed have been saved but government officials were to slow to respond and react to order immediate lock-downs and provide testing kits and protective gear for the medics. Their first duty is to protect the people. Hundreds of doctors and nurses have given their lives to help and protect the sick and heal them but fell victims of the deadly virus.

Many families have lost their loving parents and to be young and alone without parents is a traumatic experience. The thousands or so children locked inside the Philippines’ children’s jails and youth detention centers, called Bahay Pagasa (House of Hope) have no hope for freedom or a better life. They are arrested and jailed without evidence, trial or hearing for no crime but for breaking curfew or taking food because they were hungry. They suffer imprisonment and physical and sexual abuse in filthy disease-ridden cells behind bars. Now the threat of Coronavirus is waiting on the doorstep and there will be no escape from it. These are the children that we are campaigning for to be released to the parents if they have any alive or to the NGOs that care for such abandoned children.

Added to this long-term, hopeless lock-down is the misery of not seeing their parents. Without a mother’s love children are distraught, lonely, and damaged for life. These children long for their mother’s care, support and embrace. Some are as young as 10 to 15 and are victims of abuse inside the jail cells.

Recently, we were able to coordinate with Fresh Start Media in the UK in the making of a FYI report for Skynews children’s channel on the situation of the Filipino children in jails. The impact of the report is that it is presented by children for children. The TV report will surely awaken and release all the more the goodness and compassion that we believe lies buried in the hearts of the Philippine politicians responsible for the children. They will see the truth and reality for the first time when they view this story. We can all help to bring this truth to their attention by sending the link to the Mayors of Metro Manila: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_96Du7MWaE

And you can send this video message to the Mayors also https://drive.google.com/open?id=1vjHr1lrOAUpxPDUi1GYzVoKT0I3KUQU0.

People ask what can I do to help? Here is a draft letter of appeal that any reader can copy and reword and send in an email to the officials. “Dear. . . There are hundreds of children in jail cells behind bars in overcrowded Bahay Pagasa and Youth Detention Centres suffering hardship and deprivation and in danger of the Coronavirus. We appeal to you to instruct your local social worker to release those children 15 years and younger to the custody of their parents or competent NGOs that will care for them in safety. Please view the video report at this link that shows the situation in some government facilities. Urgent action is needed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_96Du7MWaE

Send your letter to any of the good active mayors:
Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, sectothemayor.caloocancity@yahoo.com

Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, elo_official@yahoo.com

Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, mayorsofficemarikina@yahoo.com

Pasig City Mayor Victor Ma. Reghis Sotto, vicosotto@outlook.com and ewinabeto@gmail.com

They are surely good people and strong leaders willing and able to help the children. They need your support and concern to do good. You can do your share to help the children by joining the campaign “Free the Children Now.”

http://www.preda.org

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[People] The Invisible Enemy: An Unseen Virus and Sexual Abuse -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Think about it. It is amazing that one tiny, invisible smart virus, a product of evolutionary processes, still mutating and changing its profile, can avoid detection and spread itself far and wide with impunity. It is able to bring the human species to its knees, to overpower nations, halt economies, crash the stock market, stop the flow of products and goods, paralyze communities, empty malls, ground airlines, close schools, and all sports gatherings.

It has the power to confine millions of people to their homes, rooms, apartments, and cruise ships. Thousands are in hospitals and many have died. Its power can motivate governments around the globe to take action and stop overnight the once free movements of people. It’s almost more powerful than nuclear war and we can’t even see it. We have to believe that this unseen enemy of the human race is out there, lurking and waiting to infect. It has killed a reported 4,000 people already worldwide. Is its danger overestimated? I will get to that later.

No new complicated laws are needed to control the right and freedom of citizens to travel and enjoy complete freedom of movement. But this once sacred freedom is now curtailed by instant decree. The COVID-19 is king. The innocent suspects of being carriers, without medical proof, are locked up and quarantined and in some countries, they will be fined large sums of money if they do not obey. So now banning convicted pedophiles from traveling to poor countries should be easy to do. This is a proposed law I suggested and was filed by Maureen O’Sullivan TD before the Irish Parliament. Two years and yet to be acted upon. Now without a law, anyone with coronavirus flu can be stopped from traveling.

It is something to which people everywhere are very sensitive and acutely aware of this dark and dangerous threat to health that can cause death to the most vulnerable. It is COVID-19. There is nothing much we can do other than being quarantined, avoid groups of people to curtail its spread, wash our hands frequently, stand back six feet from people that might be infected. It can change human behavior, drastically alter social contact and bring about new attitudes and understanding among people. They face a common threat. Many people are worried. It has struck and is striking fear and anxiety around the world, all are afraid of the single, tiny unseen “enemy,” more powerful than all the armies in the world.

Yet, there is a greater threat and actual evil that has infected the whole world and especially male sexual abusers. Until very recently, people did not care much about child and women abuse until the #MeToo and anti-child abuse movement began. Yet, it touches the tip of a great iceberg of abuse. It is the abuse, violence, and oppression of women and children that is highlighted in this recent International Women’s Day. Yet this violence causes more lifelong pain, suffering, sickness, and death than the COVID-19 ever will. Soon it will die out. But the lifelong suffering and pain endured by silent, downtrodden victims of sexual violence will not.

In Mexico, a reported murder of ten women a day are killed, hundreds of more unreported murders go unnoticed. It has been reported by the Centre for Women’s Resources (CWR) recently that at least one woman or child is abused every 10 minutes in the Philippines. The figures of reported cases are 6,315 women and 6,054 children were reported as victims. Only six percent of victims report the abuse to the authorities. Rape and abuse are like pandemic worldwide.

The UN Special Rapporteur and expert Maud de Boer-Buquicchio briefed the Special UN Human Rights Council last March 2, declaring that child sexual abuse and prostitution of children is in “every part of the world.” The sexual abuse of children over the internet is perhaps the very worst form of child sexual abuse, she said. “Children continue to be sold and trafficked within their own countries and across borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation.” She also said that “children are coerced into participation in pornographic performances online. Young girls and boys are lured with false promises and coerced into the sex trade, domestic servitude, forced labor, begging and forced marriage.” She reported that 28 percent of the child victims were under 10 years of age.

Such violence and the government and public apathy, indifference, lack of concern of society in general, is more destructive and hurtful to human lives than a dose of the coronavirus from which most people recover with treatment and go on to lead normal lives. Victims of abuse do not.

There is no known medication that will cure a person of COVID-19, everything is being tried and a vaccine is in the works. There is talk about seasonal influenza killing more than the estimated 4,000 victims of COVID-19 dead already world-wide. In the United States alone, as many as 18,000 people have died from seasonal influenza since September last year, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the International Federations of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, as many as 290,000 to 650,000 die from it yearly worldwide. This is about .14 percent whereas the COVID-19 has a potentially higher fatality rate of approximately 0.2 percent, higher than the seasonal flu.

However, we have to take everything in perspective and do all that can be done to contain the spread of COVID-19 and save lives but so much more has to be done as the world slowly awakens to the horrific prevalence and frequency of the sexual abuse of women and children. The same energy and government action to control COVID-19 should also go to stop and contain child and woman abuse.

http://www.preda.org

13 March 2020

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[People] The Revenge of Nature- Coronavirus? -by Fr. Shay Cullen

The coronavirus threatens the health of millions of people around the world if it spreads uncontrollably. Every precaution must be taken to prevent its spread and that means practicing greater personal and public hygiene and avoiding contact with people traveling from an infected area. We must show concern and never discriminate against anyone. Besides strict containment, strict personal hygiene, washing of hands, and clean surroundings can hold its spread. Public health officials must be prepared for an outbreak. The flu-like disease does not have a high fatality rate: only two people in every hundred die from it. People can get very sick with severe respiratory problems and yet recover. Others can have the virus but have no symptoms.

Everywhere, including the Philippines, doctors and medical personnel have been briefed and advised on the potential health problem and we are reminded that prevention is better than cure. So there is no need to panic or raise alarm but intelligent planning, preparation, and prevention are what is needed. Besides, most people are recovering from it with good medical care.

The big hope is that the virus cannot survive in high temperatures so bring on a hot summer everywhere, and with global warming, we can expect that. The highest temperatures ever recorded in Australia and parts of Europe in 2019 are stunning. That is because of man-made climate change. That might kill off this deadly virus and tropical countries like the Philippines might be spared. The good news is the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the virus may have reached its peak in China as fewer daily infections have been recorded. The coronavirus is also the result of ill-advised and illegal human behavior.

We have seen the outbreak of many deadly diseases and viruses in recent decades. More viruses that are affecting humans are crossing over from other mammals and birds. Remember the avian flu? The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is said to have crossed over from monkeys when people ate them as bushmeat. Likewise, ebola likely came from eating monkeys, they say. Then, we had the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), said to have originated from bats, and today the 2019 coronavirus that possibly came from bats, too, although it is not yet proven.

You might say these diseases are the revenge of nature. The natural world is striking back at the disastrous human exploitation of the rain forests, the oceans and all wildlife by driving them to extinction. There is destruction in almost every habitat in the developing world and in some parts of the developed world, too. Illegal trade and trafficking in many endangered animal species for huge profit could be the cause of coronavirus.

China is a big market for endangered animals and thousands of animals are butchered each year, mostly in Africa, to provide elephant ivory for the China ornament trade, now banned but still thriving. In 2009, there were as many as 109,000 elephants in Tanzania but due to poaching and slaughter, there were only 43,000 left in 2014, a 60 percent loss according to government reports. There is even less today. In 1970, the number of rhino had decreased to 70,000 and as of today there are only 29,000 left on the planet.

They are on the way to extinction like the white rhino by bandits killing them for their valuable horn for Chinese traditional medicine. Scientific research has shown the horn to have no more medicinal value than horses’ hooves.

Hundreds of creatures are killed and collected to supply the demand for Chinese traditional medicine, most of which are ineffective, have no medical benefit and are unnecessary considering the huge advances in Chinese health care.

The small ant-eating creature called pangolin could be responsible for the jump of the 2019 coronavirus from animal to human. They are the most widely traded and trafficked creature stolen from the wild in Southeast Asia, India and Africa. They are now practically extinct in China since they killed them for food and their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine. They have been found in the wild food market of Wuhan where the coronavirus first made the cross-over leap from animal to humans.

According to an investigative report by The Guardian, one shop was found to have for sale live animals such as “live wolf pups, golden cicadas, scorpions, bamboo rats, squirrels, foxes, civets, hedgehogs (probably porcupines), salamanders, turtles and crocodiles.” All destined for the cooking pot, it seems. Bats are known carriers of many viruses and the forest-dwelling pangolin could have picked up the virus from the bats droppings on the forest floor, some speculate. This is a likely cross over for the virus. Or some humans ate the bats. They are on sale in wildlife markets.

Corrupt governments like that in Brazil allow traders and loggers to attack the last of the rain forests and destroy their natural beauty by cutting trees, driving out and killing their indigenous people and trafficking their wildlife. We can expect more health problems in the future. Nature will rebel just like the mighty storms and heatwaves caused by man-made climate change are coming back to hit us.

Why can’t we respect nature, preserve the forest, protect the environment and its wildlife? The answer is easy. It is because of human greed. It is an insatiable, unquenchable drive beyond control. To stop the greed and trafficking of wildlife and the cross-over of animal-borne viruses to humans, the authorities world-wide have to go after the traffickers and traders of wild-life. They must identify their bank accounts and confiscate their property, assets and money and jail the big-time traders. It is essential to ban all sales and trading in wildlife.

http://www.preda.org

27 February 2020

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[People] Overcoming poverty -by Fr. Shay Cullen

There is extreme poverty in the world, 1% of rich people have more money and wealth than the combined wealth of 4.6 billion people who have almost nothing. Worldwide there are about 735 million people in extreme poverty. In the Philippine, there are an estimated 6 million people in extreme poverty. Why is there so much inequality in the world?

Can the power of goodness bring social justice and overcome the devastating harm done by powerful greedy, selfish people? They must be challenged, opposed and resisted by those dedicated and committed to doing well. Humanity develops when there is sharing, cooperation, justice, freedom, and equality among people. When these values pervade daily life, they bring peace, harmony, and well-being. The people have to change peacefully the political and economic forces that allow them such a life.

Each of us can help our neighbors and find ways to open the cage of poverty and let them fly free. Everyone needs a job and a just wage to support their family. The following is a true story, one that is repeated many times over.

Lusito was a boy from a hungry homeless family. They lived in poverty under sacks at the edge of a beach. His father was a simple fisherman but when international fishing companies were given commercial fishing permits in Philippine waters by corrupt officials, the fish disappeared. Thousands of Filipinos were thrown into the pit of poverty. Lusito then 15, the eldest, collected, junk, plastic bottles, anything he could sell for a few handfuls of rice. That’s all they had it wasn’t enough. Sickness took his father.

One day Luisito, who was emaciated with hunger, was seen by the owner of a basket weaving shop and invited to learn basket weaving. He was a person of conscience and he saw, judged the right thing to do and did it. Lusito was amazed when he was paid, in advance, a generous trainee’s allowance. Immediately he bought rice and fish for the family, the first that they had in weeks. He was totally determined to succeed and joined several workers in the small factory. Quickly he became a skilled worker and was paid a higher just wage and given shelter in the workshop. The cage was open.

Lusito saw a way to overcome poverty. He went to evening classes and graduated high school and with the help of the basket shop owner, he eventually graduated from college and found a managerial job. He saved his family and his own children. They became college graduates and they have good jobs today. That was and is the exception rather than the common reality.

That was thirty years ago. The Philippine population is now 110 million and while poverty has lessened, there are 23.1 million Filipinos going hungry every day down from 28.8, the figure in 2016 according to the World Bank survey. That is still 23 million to many. Yet many more millions of Filipinos while not grievously hungry are still living in poverty.

The world has moved on to new economic challenges and new skills and education are needed help to make a just economy where the youth of today will find good pay in high-tech jobs with dignity and equality. The nation needs to produce more high values products in a sustainable way that protects the environment and heals the damaged planet. To help bring this about Pope Francis will launch a new initiative the “Economy of Francis” at a world meeting of economists and business people with a conscience. It is to be held in Assisi, in Italy, March this year 2020.

Global action is urgently needed. Millions of people around the world demand change and refuse to be submissive and docile or live in fear of the rich. They now protest inequality, low wages, poverty, unemployment, environmental destruction. They raise their voices in rallies, marches, and demonstrations or quietly advocate and create public awareness of social injustice. Equality will have to come by the action of just governments that will tax the rich and compel them by law to pay higher wages and the government must provide social development, health, housing and employment with just wages. The government is supposed to be the service of the people, for the people, by the people to overcome poverty.

It is the rich that control the congress, they rule by family dynasty and will very seldom legislate against their own interests and only under intense public pressure. What is to be done to overcome poverty? One is to defeat and remove the corrupt officials. Politicians promise to do this in order to get elected and have power, but most are corrupt themselves. As the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported in January 2020: “The Philippines slipped 14 notches from its previous ranking in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a rating of global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has shown. In the group’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2019, the Philippines scored 34 to land in the 113th spot – a decline of 14 places from its previous rank at 99 in 2018.

Despite that vexing and painful truth, there has been a change to the good. There are millions of children and youth getting a better education nowadays thanks to many Filipino people of compassion, with a social conscience, who don’t tolerate injustice and poverty and lobby and pressure government officials to act justly. It is a slow and frustrating incremental progress.

The restless youth and workers can’t wait they are demanding jobs and higher wages and benefits, a life free from hunger and want. The rich oppose this, they grow rich from low wages, restrictive labor laws, and short-term contract workers and exploitation and plundering the natural resources and paying low or no taxes. The labor movement is frozen.

Educated workers are frustrated and migrate with their brainpower, skills, and knowledge. The Philippines can lower the rate of poverty if the government will invest in advanced technology training and encourage business to create higher-value employment and make high-value products. This will give more spending power to the people. That in turn, spurs greater economic growth. Breaking the cycle of poverty will only happen when many more millions develop a conscience, have compassion and give equal opportunities to the poor by sharing their wealth. Together we can help the poor to rise out of poverty and open the door of the cage so they can fly free.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] The Attempted Abduction of Jemma – Reflection by Fr. Shay Cullen

It’s a case of child abuse and human trafficking that has caught much media attention. It is being held in the court of Honorable Judge Maria Angelica T. Paras-Quiambao, Regional Trial Court Branch 59, Angeles City, a judge of known integrity. It concerns a US national, John R. He is accused of sexually abusing two young girls, call them Sybil and Jemma (not their real names).The younger Jemma is 13 and Sybil is 14 years old. John R. allegedly paid his pimp CM to recruit them and bring to his apartment where he sexually abused them many times.

The two children were rescued by the social workers of Mabalacat, Pampanga and of the Preda Foundation. The children were brought to the Preda home for girls in Zambales where they were successfully undergoing recovery.

The US investigative service at the US Embassy has taken a serious interest in the case and they have already interviewed Jemma and Sybil. They will eventually file charges against John R. in the USA under the US extra-territorial jurisdiction law and perhaps his supporter, Lilian May Zimmer. He is presently in hiding and Philippine arrest warrants have been issued against him.

Last March 6, there was a large rescue operation in Mabalacat and twenty children were rescued from the Golden Victory Hotel and another resort. There, the twenty children had been lured and recruited to engage in sexual relations with local and foreign sex tourists. The twenty girls were referred to the Preda home for girls where they were welcomed and assisted in every way with kindness and understanding. They were given emotional support, shelter, clothes, and personal needs. Their parents were invited over to be with them. There were many emotional scenes as the parents embraced their rescued children and they were reunited.

Click the link to read more:

https://www.preda.org/fr-shay-cullens-reflections-the-attempted-abduction-of-jemma/?fbclid=IwAR2Hwv2DO9R6JtP1awebKM-1J_Jj63rII67ZTbKJzO0pFU4B–XjhiGwcqg

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[People] Children are Treated as Criminals

Children are Treated as Criminals
Fr. Shay Cullen
25 January 2019

The lower chamber of the Philippine Congress is going to approve the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability of a child from the present 15 years-of-age to 12-years-of-age. They really want to reduce it to 9 but public outcry forced the politicians to change. Yet, 12 year old is too young to impute criminal liability. What knowledge and discernment do uneducated, impoverished hungry street children at 12 years old know and understand?

The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act is a good law if it were to be implemented. But it is not. Out of more than a hundred highly-urbanized cities and provinces that are supposed to build homes for the children, only 40 have done it. Unfortunately, some of these supposedly homes for children called Bahay Pag-asa are in reality jails for children where thousands now languish hungry, underfed and abused.

At present, these are cruel detention centers where the children are mostly treated as criminals held for weeks and months behind steel bars. Practically no activities, exercise, entertainment or education is provided in most places. Many of the children suffer bullying, sexual and physical abuse by the older detainees. If the minimum age of criminal liability is lowered to nine or 12, even more will be added to these numbers.

This we know since our work at the Preda Foundation for the past 45 years has been to rescue them and give them a happy home in an open center without guards, gates or fences .We give the freedom of choice to decide to stay and get educated and 95 percent choose to stay. They are not criminals in the power of criminal syndicates as congress people assert.

This is the present reality of child detention centers with only a few encouraging exceptions. Thousands of small children are in fact behind bars in sub-human conditions, their rights violated day and night. It is a horrific disgrace for the proud Filipino people.
(See https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5jvt2o2y7pc06le/AABUYknPy7PrjM2q0gZXu7ata?dl=0)

This law is not being implemented to this day. The small children, some as young as ten, are in fact locked up in these overcrowded cells in stinking, sub-human conditions. The Philippine Congress, in its lack of understanding and knowledge about this reality, will condemn many children as young as 12 to rot in jails where they will be sexually and physically abused. That will be on their conscience.

They should make it mandatory for each local government to build a real home for children under the direction of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) and to mandatorily fund its operation every year. Local governments must not put children behind bars. The congressmen and senators will not call child victims of these horrid cells to testify before them. They might hear the truth. They have never visited the child detention centers and they know nothing about human suffering.

These child detention centers have a small cell with a dozen teenagers and small children crammed inside in some of them. There is a dirty stinky toilet clogged with human waste. They sleep on the concrete floor in most of these child detention centers.

It is untrue and a wild fantasy of congress people to think the children will have recovery, therapy, values formation, medical care, education in nice children’s homes run by a caring, benevolent local government. It is the opposite: the children are treated as criminals and suffered hardship, hunger and are devastated as human beings that do not even have hope of anything better.

Millions of pesos have been provided to the Juvenile Justice Welfare Council established to oversee the implementation of the Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act but much of the money has gone unused. Local mayors do not listen or follow the advice of the Council. The JJWC has no power to compel compliance with the law.

The local government officials are not interested in building a nice, clean well-managed home for abandoned children at risk or in dire circumstance or in conflict with the law. The politicians consider the ragged, hungry, homeless abused street children, not as children in need of help, but as vermin, pests, undeserving poor, throwaway creatures, useless and not even human. “They have criminal minds,” one top official said about street children.

If a nation is judged in its reputation as a moral upright dignified nation by the way it treats its poor and its neglected children, then the Philippines is getting a very low score if any at all. The national pride of the Philippine nation is absent when it comes to the plight of its neglected street children. National dignity is sullied and it is nowhere to be found.

The officials and politicians, all uncaring rich elite having never been deprived of anything, unjustly and wrongly call the thousands of hungry children criminals and accuse them of working for crime syndicates and drug delivery boys and girls. But there is no sound, proven information or evidence to back up that unrehearsed assertion and false accusation.

Child detention in the Philippines today is a horrific, unjust, undeserved punishment that is detrimental and destructive of the child. Look at the facts: Out of all recorded crimes, 98 percent are done by adults and only 2 percent by minors.

Out of all alleged wrongdoing done by minors themselves, only 2 percent are allegedly committed by children less than nine years of age. Children nine to 11 years of age are responsible for 7 percent of all wrongdoing by minors. Then minors 12 to 15 years of age are responsible for 43 percent of wrong doing by minors whereas youth 15 to 18 years of age are responsible for 48 percent of alleged wrong doing committed by minors.

It is clear that the 2 percent of crimes committed by minors is miniscule and does not deserve harsh treatment and punishment.

The children see that some of the rich politicians get away with massive crimes of plunder and wallow in putrid corruption creating poverty and homeless children. The children struggle to survive and eat one scant meal a day.

Preda Foundation was founded 45 years ago to help children at risk and in conflict with the law and those falsely accused and abused and jailed without evidence. The many children rescued have the given testimony of what they suffered. They were saved and started a new happier life at the Preda open center of freedom and dignity.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] The Good News is That Justice Has Been Done by Fr. Shay Cullen

The Good News is That Justice Has Been Done
Fr. Shay Cullen
7 July 2016

fr shay 070716 copyThe serial child sexual abuser Douglas Slade from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire was sentenced to 24 years in jail after he was extradited back to the UK and faced sexual abuse charges.

He was charged in court in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines several times for abuse of children in his luxurious child sex den but was able to bribe his way out of all the charges allegedly with the help of corrupt police, court officials and bent lawyers. Slade admitted in an interview with a UK television channel that he paid lawyers to “fix” the cases.

Preda Foundation social workers and paralegal officers assisted the victims and are legal guardians for some of them with power of attorney. Slade has abused as many as 33 children living within half a kilometer of his house, which he built next to an elementary school and had a gate leading to the playground. He allegedly gave gifts to the school principal to allow the boys to come in his house where he abused them.

The Preda Foundation is working to file civil action cases in the UK against Slade to demand compensation for the degrading and human suffering and psychological damage that the children endure.

One boy reported, as reported by Simon Perry in his report in the Mail Online, that Slade threatened him and other victims with a gun if they or their parents told the police about the sexual abuse. Slade kept a firearm in his house. According to the report, Slade had video cameras fitted to the wall in both the living room and the bedroom. He would film his abuse and told Christian and the other boys he was selling the footage to friends over the Internet. “Mr. Douglas told us to do things to him and he told us we had to do it right as he told us to because it was all going on video,’ he said.

When Slade’s computer broke down, he called in a technician to repair it. This technician saw the pictures of sexual abuse, knew it was indicative of a crime and reported it to police. He made copies so the police would have evidence to get a search warrant. The police raided the home with a search warrant and got the original material in a legal manner. However, in the Angeles City Court, Slade’s lawyers were able to say that the original procurement of the video were illegal and despite the evidence that the police got the same evidence legally, the case was dismissed despite the powerful evidence of the child rape themselves.

It was at this stage that the Preda director in conversation with visiting UK child protection officials brought the case of Slade to their attention. Soon, historic cases in the UK were revived with their help and the help of media and Slade was extradited.

The role of the Internet in distributing the images of child sexual abuse is vast. The Internet is an electronic digital communications tool that can be used for good or bad. The pedophiles and child abusers have got a powerful tool at their disposal to make and distribute the most horrific videos and images of child sexual assault.

That’s why making and distributing child porn is so dangerous and evil. Even children can have access to this dehumanizing and personality destructive material by accident. It can be sent to them by pedophiles grooming them to accept this as a “normal” form of human interaction. Sometimes, it works and the child is seduced. Others are psychologically affected in a negative way. When they view these images they have a negative view of adults as dangerous, threatening and abusive. It can destroy their trust in adults and their own parents and they become disturbed and rebellious. The world appears to them to be out to hurt and exploit them.

Parents must learn the dangers of unlimited access by children to the Internet and must protect their children against this digital poison in cyber space as they would protect them against a bottle of weed killer in the garden shed.

In most countries, it is a crime to access, download, view or possess child pornography. In the Philippines, the 2009 anti-child pornography law is strict and revolutionary in that it orders the internet server providers (ISPs) to filter and block child pornography passing to customers through their servers. Preda Foundation lobbied, advised and helped bring that provision to the law.

However Philippine government officials under past administrations have never insisted that the internet server providers (ISPs), mostly foreign-owned, follow and implement the law. They fear they will lose top paying customers and millions in profits.

Poverty is not the prime cause of child sexual abuse. It is the criminal behavior coming mostly from depraved and evil men who desire sex with children. Children especially hungry children are vulnerable to being lured and abused. Child sexual abuse and pornography thrives in a culture of cover-up and non-reporting of child abuse. This is what must change. We can prevent abuse and protect children by speaking the truth. END

shaycullen@gmail.com

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[People] The message of Pope Francis to the Filipinos by Fr. Shay Cullen Mssc.

The message of Pope Francis to the Filipinos
Fr. Shay Cullen Mssc.

The visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines on 15 January this 2015 is greatly awaited and what his message will be to this most catholic nation in Asia is a matter of intense speculation .

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Of course there will be millions trying to see him and receive his blessing.Most are very poor and they will be praying that his spiritual aura and huge popularity will be influential in spreading virtue,good family values,respect for human rights and social justice in the Philippines.

Indeed despite this being the Asian nation that is 80% catholic ,it is for many a version of Catholicism that is at variance many times with the gospel message of compassion,respect and self-sacrificing service to poor and the downtrodden.

Catholic schools and universities flourish,producing the educated middle class and the ruling elite many of whom are devoted mass goers and good catholics in the sense that they accept without question church teaching and participate in the church rites and rituals.The awareness and commitment to act for social justice is limited to the few.

Its more of a cultural faith tradition than an energizing power to work for a just and honest society.The graduates gravitate to serve the elite and wealthy and corporate interests.They tend to look to heaven and not see the social injustice and cruel suffering and poverty on earth.

Those Catholics that engage in works of mercy,reaching out to the poor,the hungry and work in humanitarian organizations to help the poor, redress injustice and economic inequality and change society are much to few.

In general most adult Filipino catholics are traditional and lead good church going virtuous lives.They are not very empowered to imitate Jesus of Nazareth. They have been spiritually trained to be more docile and subservient than to be on fire with a burning faith in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.They are not faith inspired to challenge and change the crushing injustice and corruption that keeps 100 million poor dominated by 1% of the population.

That one percent is composed of billionaires and millionaires that make up the ruling elite.They dominate congress,the administration,the military,police and the justice system. Government departments packed with their cronies and relatives do their bidding.They pass laws that protect their stolen wealth, privileges and entitlements and thwart and silence their opponents and critics.No wonder that the Philippines has the longest lasting communist guerilla war in Asia.Without justice there cannot be peace,without peace there cannot be prosperity for all.

In 1986 when Cardinal Archbishop Jaime Sin called the faithful to be socially active for human rights and justice and to take to the streets to oppose the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, defy the military did Filipino Catholicism have a bright shining moment.But it soon faded,such social and political engagement was discouraged and criticized by the Vatican.

Today there are those who masquerade as “good catholics”, are seen in church but pursue worldly power, money, are driven by political ambition and the desire for economic domination and despite over the weak and poor and value them only as cheap labor.They are the hypocrites of the ruling elites condemned by Jesus.

Its amazing that a nation of 100 million people just a tiny few can own and control over 70 percent of the wealth,land,property and means of production.They ,so few,have such power and cause such poverty and human rights abuses over so many.

These rich and corrupt people will be trying to get close to the Pope hoping that their proximity to such a famous and holy man will be a sign to the electorate that despite their evil deeds they are approved persons and blessed. May no such corrupt politicians get a seat at the table with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis choose that very name in the Spirit of St.Francis when just as his election was announced Cardinal Claudio Hummes hugged him and whispered into his ear ” Do not forget the poor”. He was determined to champion their cause for equality and human rights and make the social teaching of the Church a living practical reality everywhere.He had to scold the Cardinals in the Curia recently for their 15 “diseases” that are holding back the teaching and practice of the gospel.

For sure Human rights and the rights of children and women will be central to his messages. In this nation of 100 million people five million children are enslaved in some kind of child labor,mostly agricultural and slum survival work.But as many as 100,000 are trafficked into sex slavery which Francis declared,a few weeks ago to be a crime against humanity.

The message of Pope Francis will likely address the great disparity between rich and poor. He may speak out against the death squads that kill priests and church workers and children with impunity.He is the Pope of the poor and the oppressed and is the long awaited man of God to lead the wayward Church leaders out of apathy and arrogance, teach them to reject corrupt ways and instill in them the love of the Gospel message.

This the very message that Jesus died for. We can all be inspired by him and Pope Francis to speak the truth,oppose corrupt rulers and work to lift the poor from poverty by good example and evangelical poverty.

shaycullen@preda.org

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P.O Box 68
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Preda Main Center
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[People] Fair Trade and the social teachings of the Catholic Church by Father Shay Cullen, mssc

Fair Trade and the social teachings of the Catholic Church
Father Shay Cullen, mssc

One of the most well-known success stories of Preda Fair Trade is its action to alleviate poverty and oppose the evil trade of human trafficking by implementing the social teachings of the Church. Living out in action these spiritual and social values is a great challenge to Catholics and Christians of all denominations.

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Pope Francis has spoken clearly on the need for economic justice in the world. He said that he wants “a Church that is poor and for the poor.” In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, he grounded this goal in Jesus Christ, “who became poor and was always close to the poor and the outcast.” (186)

The selling of young people into bars and brothels under the guise and cover of “entertainer” is a modern form of human slavery. Thousands of Filipinos are being sold into this evil form of trade in Asia and Korea is one major destination. Ten thousand Filipinos are reported to be trafficked into Korea, according to one university study.

Unless we act for children and the youth and they are allowed to be exploited and abused without our action to help them, then our faith, teaching and evangelization will have little impact and inspiration for the youth today. Perhaps that is why so few go to Church. That is why Fair Trade is the long term sustainable vehicle for delivering social and economic justice to the poorest of the poor. It makes them independent and and self reliant.

Korea and Japan are prime destinations for these young girls many said to be minors but disguised as adults with fake documents and make up. The goal is to save victims and uphold the dignity of women and children and provide economic alternatives in their home villages in the Philippines.

The goal of Fair Trade is to curb human exploitation of every kind and promote the human rights of rural poor and workers and help the exploited and the oppressed people. This is at the heart of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. The Preda Fair Trade project aims to prevent human trafficking and sex slavery by teaching the people the gospel values and the dignity and rights of every person especially the rights of women and children.

It also provides livelihood projects to the poor families such as organic mango production, fair prices and bonus payments for every small scale farmer for their mango fruit. The Fair Trade also provides water pumps, bicycles and educational assistance to the children. The small scale farmers are given mango tree saplings and coconut seeds to improve their production. A portion of the earnings from sales of Preda dried mangoes of Preda Fair Trade goes to help child victims of sex trafficking and abuse in Preda therapeutic homes. Preda dried mangoes are widely available in Ireland and UK supermarkets.

By buying the mangoes of small farmers and indigenous people at high fair prices and paying a bonus to each farme, Preda Fair Trade is slowly eliminating the exploitation and poverty. It is the cruel poverty and social injustice that makes so many impoverished villagers eager to allow their children go to work in cities in the Philippines and abroad. Most don’t know the dangers.

The practice and example of economic justice in fair trade is a form of evangelization in word and action. It is by example of giving justice and fairness that Preda has credibility with the people and society. As St. James writes, “Faith without action for justice is dead.” The Church has a duty to implement the social teachings proclaimed by Jesus and the Popes for generations, and Pope Francis in particular, and Fair Trade is one great way to do it.

The work to protect women and children from sex slavery is a priority. The Preda Foundation has homes that are therapeutic healing centers for the child victims and a Preda legal office prosecutes the abusers and traffickers through the courts. A percentage of the earnings from the sale of the dried mangoes and other fair traded products help fund these services for the victims rescued from Filipino sex bars and brothels.

The evil trade begins when the young women and children are recruited in Filipino villages or towns by human traffickers by giving promises of good jobs in factories and hotels or as singers and dancers in Korea and elsewhere. They pay part of a salary in advance to the parents and relatives of the young women so they are obligated and become victims of “bonded” labor.

The sex bars are situated near US bases like Camp Stanley. The girls have to sell a certain number of “juicy” drinks to customers and are pressured to give sexual favours to the customers in small rooms at the back of the bars or in nearby cheap hotels. In some cases it is rape as the girls have never expected this and do not consent to it.

The development and promotion of Fair Trade is a most effective way for Catholics to use their buying power to make a strong faith-based commitment and statement for social justice. Faith can be more alive every time they choose to buy a Fair Trade product knowing it is not the product of child labor, exploitation or cheating the producers. They will know it is based on fairness and concern. They will learn too from the information given with the products about the needs of the poor and the positive help that Fair Trade gives to them and what more they can do to help.

shaycullen@preda.org
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Physical Address:

CONTACT US:

PREDA Foundation, Inc.
P.O Box 68
Olongapo City 2200

Preda Main Center
Upper Kalaklan, Subic Bay
Olongapo City 2200 Philippines

E-mail: shaycullen@preda.org, Information Officer: emmanueldrewery@preda.org

TO SUPPORT THE WORK OF PREDA you may freely pass on the article or republish and send a donation via mail or PAYPAL at our website http://www.preda.org or through the Columban Missionary Society.

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[People] THE RESCUE. By Fr. Shay Cullen

THE RESCUE
Fr. Shay Cullen
8 July 2014

The dilapidated house and few small cottages falling apart made up what was called S.C.O.T.S. Foundation for abandoned children. It was set up by Lilian May Thomson, 65, from Dunfermline, Scotland. According to her US passport she is named as Lilian May Zimmer. Her house is in a remote place at the end of a small, narrow valley in Subic, Philippines. It is a place surrounded by forested hills and a small river running nearby. But that outward beauty shielded something very sinister and horrific within.

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This beautiful setting was ideal for another Preda children’s home and with the sex tourism growing, more children were being abused, trafficked and sexually exploited. While we challenge government, church and society to act more forcefully to end it, the victims have to be helped to heal and recover from the abuse on the streets, in brothels and rescued from child abusers. That’s our mission.

While the new Preda Home for Girls was being built about three hundred meters from the SCOTS compound on the other side of the small river, I noticed posh-looking vehicles parked there. I saw non-Filipino elderly men holding and touching children. That bothered me because it is strictly forbidden in any children’s home.

I contacted the government welfare department and learned that the Scots Foundation had been disavowed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). So this place looked like a failed project or a fake one.

The new children’s home was built and the Preda children moved in earlier this year. The Preda children are always singing and laughing and playing games and running about. On June 1st, as I arrived to visit and celebrate the mass, I saw three little children at the entrance, one girl was completely naked, the others were skinny and semi-naked. They had been attracted to the Preda home by the singing because they were hungry. After they had eaten and clothed, they said they were from Scots Foundation.

I was alarmed and instructed a Preda social worker to bring them back there and see the conditions and why they are disheveled and malnourished. Had we kept them at the Preda home without official approval, we could have been charged with kidnapping as happened to us once before when we rescued children. The Preda Foundation being a private charity does not have the authority to rescue children without the government authorities being present.

The social worker reported that it was a house in disarray, the place was dirty, and smelt bad. Zimmer was smoking, unwashed and she appeared drunk. A 7 year-old was caring for a naked 6 month old baby of mixed race, Korean-Filipino. Another girl, about 6, was tied in a chair with plastic binders. She was having epilepsy seizures.

The Preda social worker informed me of this situation and immediately I wrote a report and informed the DSWD director by email and courier. I requested the children be rescued immediately as they were in dire and dangerous circumstances.

After a delay of two weeks, no rescue team arrived and I sent another social worker to see the condition of the children. It was worse. The children were dirty, crying, undressed, hungry, one was still tied to the chair. Zimmer was smoking non-stop and appeared drunk.

I called again for the officials to rescue them and then two government social workers and 7 police from Subic town went to Zimmer’s house to rescue the children. They were prevented from entering the house and allegedly Zimmer hurled invective at them and threatened to kill them if they entered. Fearing that she might have a gun, they withdrew without rescuing the children.

After this Zimmer went to the Preda home at night shouting and cursing at Preda social workers and blaming Preda for calling the police. She allegedly grabbed one of the Preda social workers and pulled her the length of the building and uttered threats and bad word against the children.

I continued making more requests and phone calls to the authorities. Then eventually, one month later, on 3 July, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officers and two DSWD social workers went to Scots Foundation to rescue the children.

Again, Zimmer confronted them and gave off foul language and picked up a spear and threw it at the social workers, it grazed one of them. The NBI agents overcame their fears and sprang into action before Zimmer could throw the second spear.

They restrained and handcuffed her and brought her to the NBI jail and booked her. The next day, Zimmer was brought to the office of the prosecutor in Olongapo city and a lawyer was appointed to represent her. A Preda social worker was there also.

The female prosecutor heard all the evidence, the fearsome spears were presented as evidence of the attack on the officials. Two male foreigners showed up, friends of Zimmer but when they heard that probable cause was established by the prosecutor, they left immediately. Zimmer was presented before the court at 7 pm that same night and remanded to the city jail. Kudos for the judge.

The children were taken into care in a private child care center. One child said when there was electricity in the house of Zimmer, they were before a camera naked. Another 7 year-old girl child said she was groomed with make up and a party dress and brought to a party of adults. It has since been established by medical examination the three girls ages about 6 or 7 have been severely sexually abused.

The children are being given full support and comfort, good food and clothes and are eager to tell all that happened to them. More has yet to be revealed… (to be continued) [shaycullen@preda.org ; http://www.preda.org]

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[People] Reggie’s flight to freedom. Fr.Shay Cullen

Reggie’s flight to freedom.
Fr.Shay Cullen

As if the upheaval,death and destruction of Typhoon Haiyan(Yolanda)was not enough suffering for up to a million survivors human disasters are still ongoing and we are trying to protect children and orphans from exploiters and traffickers. We sounded the alarm months ago and we are still very active in preventing hurt and healing the victims.

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Reggie, 17, a victim of human trafficking from a remote village in Bogo, Northern Cebu, one of the towns badly affected by the most powerful typhoon (Haiyan/Yolanda) in history to hit land. Desperate for a job to get food for his hungry family and grandmother, he was lured by criminal human traffickers to join a large fishing boat with six other victims.

After many days of hard work day and night, the fishing boat made land in Batangas port on Southern Luzon Island to sell the big catch. They helped off- load the fish. To their shock the boys,several of them minors, were not paid but ordered back to the boat. They refused and ran away from these harsh conditions.

Reggie found his way to Metro Manila after walking for almost two days carrying his few pieces of old clothes in a yellow plastic bucket that was his only possession. He begged for food along the way.

Arriving in Manila, instead of getting help and protection from the authorities, he received additional misery and hardship when he was taken off the street for being a vagrant and was put into a youth detention prison in Pasay, Metro Manila. There Preda social workers ,rescuing other children, found him behind bars malnourished,hungry and forced to sleep on the concrete floor in an mosquito infested cell that was as hot as a boiler room.

He was left there and forgotten without a legal complaint or charge made against him or a court hearing. Thats the plight and injustice suffered by thousands of children around the country. Our campaign to change the system is meeting stiff resistance.

There was no one to listen to Reggie’s story or help him. He was left in the jail with other youth,some as young ten years of age in sub-human conditions. Every day, he survived on only a handful of rice and a spoon of vegetables as his daily food.

He felt abandoned, lost and very frightened and threatened by the bigger boys who controlled life in the cells and took most of the food for themselves and made the younger ones wash their shorts and T-shirts and forced them to sexually comfort them.

His day of release was a happy one for him. He almost cried when brought out from detention by Preda social worker Emmanuel Drewery and father Shay and was taken immediately to a restaurant for a good meal as he was famished, malnourished, weak and depressed.

This is the first time I have ever eaten in a restaurant², he told them.
He grew up in an impoverished village in the remote part of Northern Cebu island which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan(Yolanda). It was that extreme poverty that drove him to look for work on the fishing boat where he was put into forced, unpaid labor.

After his rescue, he asked to stay at the Preda Boy¹s home where he was happy and recovered his physical and emotional strength. He joined the other lucky forty youths who were also released from horrific unhygienic and psychologically damaging conditions of bare jails and prisons by the Preda Foundation workers. They got a court transfer order by writing to the judge.

They were jailed by police without charges or for what amounts to a misdemeanor like stealing food but greatly exaggerated and made appear to be robbery so the policeman could meet his quota or get a promotion.

Reggie was free and loved to play basketball and go swimming with the other boys there in the no-gates ,no-guards open living home staffed by nursers and social workers. Troubled youths don’t rebel when they are respected and properly cared for. Reggie was free of the traffickers but had suffered greatly because of them and the uncaring authorities.

After several months of recovery and rest at the Preda Home for Boys, he was ready to travel home and experience his first ever airplane flight which was a great thrill for him. He went with Mr. Francis Bermido, the Preda Executive director and his assistant director Emmanuel Drewery. Besides attending to the administration of all the Preda projects, they frequently join in the field work and direct and supervise the Preda relief and anti-trafficking training seminars in Tacloban and Palo.

There the Preda education and psycho-therapy team are helping hundreds of traumatized survivors cope with the greatest natural disaster to hit the Philippines.

They also distribute thousands of packets of vegetable seeds. to help the small farmers grow food. The greater unnatural disaster is the slew of politicians that are plundering the treasury and stealing the money that could be used to help the victims.

Reggie was thrilled when together, they took a low cost flight on Air Asia and landed in Cebu. Within a few hours of travel through the wrecked countryside of torn up coconut trees and shattered houses Reggie was happily and tearfully reunited with his family.In the middle of such widespread disaster from the typhoon where the trafficking of children and youth is spreading this is one of several happy endings.

Preda Foundation will provide more help to the family of Reggie to help them recover from the losses to their livelihood and the near destruction of their little house. Thanks to the supporters and donors,better times lie ahead with a scholarship for Reggie to finish his education and get good employment. St.Columban’s ,Solihull. B93 9AB shaycullen@preda.org http://www.preda.org

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[People] Searching for abused children and Yolanda orphans. By Fr. Shay Cullen

Searching for abused children and Yolanda orphans
By Fr. Shay Cullen
Mobile No: Sun +639228768621, Globe +63 917 627 4910

Immediately after the typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the strongest typhoon ever to hit land on 8 November this year, I wrote an article titled “The Lost Orphans of Yolanda” on 12 November in the knowledge that the children without parents are the most vulnerable to abuse, abduction, malnutrition and human trafficking. Hungry children go wandering off in search of food their parents cannot provide and you see them at city street corners begging and asking strangers for money.

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That article on the orphans was based on the initial report that as many as ten thousand people had been killed by the storm surge and high winds and flying debris. The confirmed death toll has reached 6,500 dead and more bodies are uncovered as the debris is gradually removed. It was expected that there would be many homeless, hungry and orphaned children. They tend to be overlooked in the chaos that follows a great storm or disaster.

It was published in several newspapers and online and flew around the world via the internet and seemingly had its desired effect to alert the agencies, government and non-government agencies helping children in the disaster area of Yolanda to be on the lookout for homeless and abandoned orphaned children. Preda Foundation cares for almost 90 children in residential care and fifty in after care and did not have the resources for an immediate relief response until donations began arriving. Then we immediately set off to the disaster areas to assess the damage and the needs of children and learn how best we could help.

The article seemed to ignite a flurry of concern and press releases and stories about the dangers these vulnerable children faced. This may have had a preventive educational impact, I hope so. According to the DSWD Regional Director Bonoan, no orphaned children have been found, and none came into her Manila based evacuation centers. Preda social workers worked there and did not find any orphans there either. However, there are three posters appealing for information about missing children, one as young as 3 years old. Likewise in the Cebu evacuation center which we also visited, none were found according to the officer in charge. In Tacloban, reportedly there were none either, other than one family of five taken by the Council for Inter-county Adoption to an orphanage in Quezon City.

However, with 6500 people dead, it’s highly unusual that no children have been found homeless and orphaned. Perhaps relatives have taken them into their care already as informal fostering and undocumented adoption is customary. Perhaps, the fact that local government is so overwhelmed with so many other problems, they cannot cope or even know if there are orphaned children being sheltered by other families. The greatest concern is the vulnerability of boys and girls to local pimps and recruiters and foreign paedophiles disguised as government officials or charity workers.

Kandy is a 15 year-old victim of human trafficking from Samar. Before the typhoon, her parents fled the poverty and brought her and her sister, 20 years old, to Metro Manila but left them with an auntie and returned to Samar. Her sister Karina was lured to Limay, Bataan, a port, and she was ensnared in a videoke sex bar. The recruiter trafficker then texted Kandy inviting her to come and work in a bakery, she was given advance money and then to pay it off, she was forced to work in another sex videoke bar at Pexsite. Intimidated and scared, she went and was offered as a live-partner to a Korean. She ran away from this sex-slavery but because of debts, she had to go back to another videoke bar. A concerned citizen texted Preda’s hot line and within two days, Preda social workers and legal officer rescued her. She is finding a new life of dignity now at Preda home for trafficked girls. The Preda legal officer filed the criminal charges. The trafficker was arrested and is facing arraignment in Balanga, Bataan, Regional Trial Court.

Many people may know of abducted or recruited children or see trafficking or abuse happening but are afraid to report it or have no one to trust to whom they can safely and anonymously report it and get immediate action. What Preda Foundation does best is immediate response and through its highly trained personnel, it can do undercover surveillance and research on the one hand, and give public community training to develop awareness and trust in communities and empower women and children to report human trafficking and abuse of any kind through texting to the hotline mobile number +63 917 532 4453. The one utility back on in most disaster hit areas is the mobile phone systems.

Besides giving relief foods and seeds to farmers, we need to give this public education and empowerment training seminars to parents and youth on the dangers of falling for the offers of traffickers and spread the message through radio, seminars and puppet shows and distribute information cards with the contact information and hotline number.

This way, the people knowing about trafficked children or adults can report it without fear of retaliation or threats. It’s important to involve the local officials and train and hire local youth to take on the preventive educators’ job and continue the empowerment and information project. The feedback to the Preda coordinator of any trafficking or child abuse will be met with an immediate response. The hotline number for reporting trafficking or child abuse of any kind is +63 917 532 4453. We can make this a better world for children at risk.

Donations: Preda Foundation, Metrobank, Rizal Ave., Olongapo Bank Account 144-2-14403962-3, Swift code MBTCPHMM

shaycullen@preda.org , http://www.preda.org
Mobile No: Sun +639228768621, Globe +63 917 627 4910

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[People] Saving the victims of human trafficking by Fr. Shay Cullen

Saving the victims of human trafficking
by Fr. Shay Cullen

She was only 14 years old when brought from a distant town, and she was lured into a relationship with a middle-aged American and became his live-in sex partner. He called her “Chocolate”, a racist term.

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In a conversation with reporters from ABC Television New York using a hidden camera, he told them how he got his 14 year-old “Chocolate” so he can “do it” anytime he wants and if she doesn’t like it he can throw her out and get another. He set up a sex bar named “Crow Bar” in Calapandayan, Subic Town, and there he had other underage girls trapped as sex slaves controlled by Lulu, the “Mamasan” (manager) and recruiter.

The trafficked young girls are given advance payments, loans, and threatened with arrest for not paying their debts so they can’t leave the sex bar. They are sold to foreigners of every nationality and sexually abused. The Preda Foundation social workers and undercover paralegal professionals investigated the Crow Bar and verified the facts that there were underage children there and called in the authorities to arrest him and the Mamasan. With the NBI and the US ICE agents, a raid was carried out to rescue the children and arrest the suspects. The video report is on http://www.preda.org video gallery named “The Raid”.

Many more trafficked children and youth could be saved from sex slavery and more bars closed if the Philippine government was serious in stopping the trafficking of the young girls and close down the sex trade by canceling operating permits and licenses given to these foreigner sex bar operators. Huge bribes are allegedly paid to get an operating permit.

It’s the worst kind of living death to be a victim of sex slavery. Now cyber-sex is expanding. Small rooms with internet connections and cameras can show small children forced to strip naked and act out sexual fantasies ordered over the internet by pedophiles and paid for by credit cards.

A recent research project in the Netherlands showed a computer generated image of a 10 year-old Filipina child available for contact in an internet chat room. As many as 10,000 men from 65 countries tried to get her to perform sex on camera that they could watch. Full report on http://www.preda.org, courtesy of Jubilee Campaign UK.

These images of naked children on the internet chat rooms arouse their sexual desires to abuse real children in their own countries. It’s a warm up for sexual assault on children even their own children. As a result, incest is spreading too. Preda social workers rescued a 3 year-old girl raped and infected with gonorrhea by a relative.

The local and international pedophile demand of cyber sex shows it is a grave danger to children in the Philippines and everywhere. The pedophiles pleasure themselves while watching before going child hunting. When the Preda child protection and rescue team applied for funding to church and government agencies it was met with silence or excuses. No funding for that. The rescue and campaign work is funded by the sale of dried mangos. We thank our Preda fair trade partners and supporters.

In the Philippines, the internet service providers and government regulating agencies are supposed to implement the law blocking such images but they have spectacularly failed to implement the law. It’s corruption of the worst kind. It’s likely most of these officials go to church every Sunday posing as pious parishioners.

It’s an evil that caters to the depraved men and plagues societies everywhere. The trafficking and sale of children for sexual exploitation and slavery is a worldwide crime and practice. It’s an estimated $32 billion business every year. 2.3 million children are abducted, lured and forced into brothels, sex bars and cyber-sex dens and child porn studios annually.

It’s rampant in the Philippines due to the widespread poverty, corrupt practices by police and prosecution. Many Philippine government officials are mired in corruption and no interest to help except set up well paid committees with huge budgets staffed by cronies. The President who has positive successes is honest but appears helpless against such entrenched apathy.

This modern slave-trade will go on indefinitely unless we can persuade government to have good moral governance, respect and protect children and women’s rights and dignity and the Mayors are not giving permits and licenses to sex bars and clubs .The citizens of the sending countries must know that these sex tourists get in an addiction to underage sex and return to their country addicted and will abuse more children there. It’s not a problem far away but right in every country in the world. Email shaycullen@preda.org, Mail to P.O. box 68 Olongapo city 2200, Philippines.

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[People] A Mission in Life By Fr. Shay Cullen

A Mission in Life
By Fr. Shay Cullen

We have to have a mission in life, to make it meaningful,with purpose and to live more fully.The mission can be to accomplish any good work,motivated by a spiritual value of compassion, love of justice, care of others,empathy and solidarity with the sick, the oppressed and lonely. These inner convictions and commitments can be the driving force of mission.

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It can be caring for our family, helping the local community,dedicating ourselves to prayer,helping the poor in anyway we can or even going out to change the world and to help others without seeking to enrich ourselves or to gain from it.The more selfless and pure our motivation the better. Unable to be engaged personally on a mission to serve and directly save others many find a mission in sharing their surplus wealth in close partnership with a chosen mission or charitable work.

A mission in life is it own reward because it takes us out of ourselves toward others and it is a life of sharing and a life lived for others where we can find happiness, friendship and fulfillment. There is no better way to live as Jesus of Nazareth showed us. No greater love can anyone have,than to lay down their life for a friend.

I have been on mission with the Columban Missionary Society for almost 44 years. The Columbans made my mission possible from the beginning by sending me to the Philippines.Then the Holy Spirit took over and guided me the way I should go.

The latest chapter in my mission story happened a short while ago.I went with Preda social workers to get another youth named Miguel our of dehumanized prisons and to find his mother. His father had left them years before.

We got him out with a court order from the dirty infested prison cell ,a den of iniquity where innocent kids are treated like criminals.The minors are held pending an investigation of some allegation made against them, usually with little evidence to support it, It takes weeks or months in the Philippine system to have a child brought brought before a court. Meanwhile in the overcrowded cells the child is abused, molested, starved and even beaten by other inmates or cruel guards.

While the Preda social workers can save up to a hundred minors every year (some as young as 13) thousands more could be jailed and no one will know or help them. We have to change the system and get the juvenile justice law that forbids the jailing of minors under 15 be respected and implemented by the authorities.Those over 15 cannot be jailed unless the act was with discernment.But many are framed up. Changing that system is one mission I am on but it could take a life time.

Its in the Jail where we are called upon to look for Jesus of Nazareth to see him present among the poor ,the hungry naked and the unjustly imprisoned . On the day of Judgement St.Mathew tells us Jesus will call us to himself. `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’Matthew 25:31-46 Then we will ask when did we do all that to you Lord? and he will answer, “so long as you did it to the poorest of my brothers and sisters you did it to me”. Its a powerful passage where Jesus identifies himself with the poorest of the poor ,the hungry,sick, lonely abandoned and unjustly imprisoned.

So from the jail I went to Paranaque in Metro Manila where there are millions of men women and malnourished sickly children living in the most unhygienic slums imaginable. I walked into a quagmire of filth, misery among the dwellers of the slums.Perverse poverty reigned supreme.

Its was not the first time that I visited a slum one of many.This was just a bit worse that the rest. They are the result of the great social equality in most modern societies where the wealth never trickles down to the poor. Where an estimated two percent owns or controls 70 percent of the national wealth. The revelations of many politicians stealing billions of pesos supports the point.

A great divide exists between rich and poor like that between Lazarus at the gate of the rich man Dives. Not even the crumbs that fell from his table could Lazarus get. The only creatures who had compassion were the kind dogs that licked his sores to try and heal him. What a condemnation of the irresponsible greedy rich. The children of the poor have to beg or steal to eat and then they go to jail.

To get to the shacks and shanties where Miguel mother lived we crossed a river thick smelly and as black as tar with the pollution nothing could exist there.Plastic bags and human waste floated there as the slums have no sewerage or toilets. The foot bridge was rickety, dangerous and made by the people themselves with scraps like their shacks and hovels.

They met. Miguel’s mother embraced her lost son in tears and something good and beautiful entered their impoverished world.

I looked up into the distance at the towering condominiums and skyscrapers of the super rich and wondered if there was a Zacchaeus among them who would have a change of heart and give back to the poor. End

(email : shaycullen@preda.org , http://www.preda.org)

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

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