Tag Archives: Shay Cullen

[Press Release] Tourists flee Olongapo sex bars in fear of arrest -PREDA

Tourists flee Olongapo sex bars in fear of arrest.
Preda news Reporter
18 may 2015

Photo by PREDA

Photo by PREDA

During a presentation at the Iowa State University Father Shay Cullen told a audience of 600 professors, clergy, human rights activists and students that following the undercover work of retired Australian police and US ICE agents sex tourists are leaving Olongapo and Subic sex tourist areas.


“The wave of human slavery is increasing in the world and the young women and children are the most vulnerable victims. It is not only in poor countries but in developed nations also.” Fr.Shay told the audience.

Marlyn Capio- Richter ,A Preda social worker and Paralegal officer told her life story as a child sexually abused by step-father ,ran away and was lured by a human trafficker to Boracay island where she was forced and turned into a commercial sexually exploited child and forced to work in a sex bar when only 12 years old. Later with an other child she was rescued and brought to Preda by Father Shay Cullen and became a college graduate and is presently helping other victims of human trafficking.

In his presentation Fr.Shay said that in America alone as many as 35,000 children go missing every year as many are children who run away from sexual abuse in the home and neighborhood .Others are abducted and made sexual slaves and forced prostitution by human traffickers.

Fr.Shay reminded the audience that as many as 13 million unfortunate Africans ,men ,Women and children were kidnapped, abducted, captured and sold into slavery in North and South America over a period of 300 years upon which the early wealth of the nation in part was taken.’

“However today” ,Fr.Shay said , “more than 4.5 million women and children and poor working men are trafficked into slavery every year, most never escape and are forced into fishing boats , brothels and sex dens and made have forced abortions.

The demand is growing around the world with the power of the Internet. This is aided and abetted by the refusal of the Internet Server Providers in the Philippines and elsewhere to install filtering software and stop the proliferation of the child pornography.It is increasing the demand for child sex.When the sex tourists return to American,he said, the sex tourists are addicted to underage sex and are abusing American children daily.

He told the audience a big anti-trafficking success for Preda was when the Preda social workers rescued young women and children in 2013 from Sex bars in Calapadayan,Subic Town.This was helped by retired Australian police and active US Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and Philippine police investigators .They went undercover into the sex bars poising as sex tourist customers.

They identified the minors and the sex customers and traffickers. Arrests were made and the court cases are still going on in Olongapo City with a jailed US national on trial. Sex tourists are deserting Subic and Olongapo bars and clubs as a result out of fear of being identified by the undercover retired police officers.

Father Shay said and as many as 12 sex bars have now closed and others denied a Mayors permit down. The chilling effect has been seen in the Olongapo area he said as sex tourists of many nationalities have a fear of being under surveillance and in danger of arrest in such bars.

Sex tourism is also a growing scourge that abuses and enslaves the children and women in developing countries and in Europe also where thousands of young girls are trafficked Germany and Austria every year where prostitution is legal.

However while it may protect German and Austrian sex workers the many trafficked children and girls are from the Ukraine and Belarus and eastern European countriews.These girls he said are deprived of their passport and documents and are held against their will in brothels and are threatened if they try to escape.

In the Philippines he said the most sex tourists come from South Korea, Japan and Australia and North America.The campaign to stop this and free the victims must go on. Fr.Shay illustrated hsi lecture with slides on the work of Preda.He showed the beautiful building in the countryside where rescued children are helped in a “best practice” therapeutic center and home for girls.

The visit and speech was on the invitation of the University Of Iowa ,organized with their help of Columban Father Bill Brunner,SSC and John Burke both are active in combating human trafficking in Iowa and works with the anti-human trafficking network who presented Preda with the award.

The plaque has the inscription:


Presented BY. The Central Iowa Service Network Against Human Trafficking and Youth and Shelter Services April 23, 2015.

Following the lecture in Iowa Ft.shay and Marlyn travelled to Minneapolis -St.paul and made presentation there also and later went to El Paso and Los Angeles to continue the lecture tour in the United States. They returned to Preda on 3rd. may 2015.

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[People] “What are you willing to die for”. By Fr. Shay Cullen, PREDA

“What are you willing to die for”.
Reflections by Fr. Shay Cullen, PREDA

“What are you willing to die for “, It was a very challenging question that Pope Francis presented to the thousands of young people gathered for the beatification of the 130 martyrs in Korea last week. And it is also challenging for all of us who claim to be Catholics and Christians. His message was clear in calling on the youth and people to reject a life selfish gratification based on gross materialism and living for wealth alone and instead to strive for equality and protect the poor and their human rights.

The Pope visited a catholic home for the elderly and embraced some of them showing compassion and love. In Korea as in many wealthy nations there are serious pockets of neglect of the elderly. Although Korea is one of the wealthiest nations in the world half of the old folk live in poverty. Instead of cherishing and respecting them all with a life of dignity and sufficiency like western materialistic societies many of the senior citizens are marginalized and rejected as people of little value.

Many are locked away in retirement homes and some tied to beds and chairs and given tranquilizer drugs that leaves them in a state of semi-conscious stupor that accelerates dementia. New legislation in Belgium and Switzerland ,and the Netherlands allows them to be helped to kill themselves by “assisted suicide”. Where will this trend end? Soon the practice could be for nasty relatives and government care-givers to bully and persuade them to kill themselves and not go on being a financial and medical burden to the rest of us. This is an attitude arising from loveless selfish materialism.

The Pope reminded us that the early catholics of Korea sacrificed themselves for their needy bothers and sisters, “They knew the price of discipleship ..and were willing to make the great sacrifices”. The Pope pointed out that their love and courage and rejection of the strict unbending and unequal social structure of their day is an inspiration for people alive today. Their belief in Jesus of Nazareth and his teaching of a Kingdom of love ,equality and social justice led to their execution. The rich cant stand talk of equality.

Pope Francis’s compassion for the bereaved families of the hundreds of school children that drowned when the ferry boat sunk of South Korea showed through also when he and the organizers of the Mass of Beatification did not allow the authorities to drive away the protestors,one on hunger strike, demanding the truth about the sinking of the ferry. The Pope had met them in private and now embraced them in public. Bishop Kang stated that “to forcibly move people crying for justice in order to celebrate Mass simply could not happen – if it did the Mass would have no meaning”

When Pope Francis comes to visit the Philippines next January he will find many martyrs including priests and pastors,human rights workers ,who gave their lives for the poor and exploited and were executed by death squads run by military and local government officials.

One of the worst suspected and accused military generals,the darling of the previous government of President Gloria Arroyo who herself is in detention for plunder awaiting trial is Retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan. He was arrested recently after four years on the run from the charges of allegedly running death squads wherever he was assigned around the Philippines and allegedly left a trail of blood of assassinated civilians who dared to criticize the government. Known as “The Butcher” for these alleged crimes he will be put on trial for the disappearance and suspected murder of two student activists.

Like the Korean martyrs we should be ready to give up some comforts of our easy life and defend the abused children and those poor people exploited by the rich 1 % that owns 70% of the Philippines. We need the spiritual commitment and belief in what is right and good and be ready to put aside selfish desires and greed to help others in great need.

This the heart of the Pope’s message. When Francis comes to the Philippines
I hope he will not be feted and manipulated by glory seeking rich elites and publicity seeking politicos. He will, we hope, visit the poor and the victims of abuse and survivors of the greatest typhoon. He will see little reconstruction of homes,schools and public services. Political corruption is still rife and raging wherever there is money to be stolen. His message will be equally challenging for sure and we will do well to heed it and act in solidarity with those in great need wherever they may be. 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.


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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[People] The First Christmas. By Fr. Shay Cullen

The First Christmas
by Fr. Shay Cullen

When I was growing up, Christmas was a lovely childhood story of the baby Jesus born in a clean looking stable surrounded by his loving parents in clean robes, singing angels, adoring shepherds, kings holding gifts and harmless adoring animals. Yet in reality, it was a hard, cold, miserable time for this impoverished couple, who were like refugees and soon became such, with almost nothing in the world as they fled the killer King Herod to Egypt. They were most likely overwhelmed by the cold bitter weather and hunger like the refugees from the conflict in Syria today, fleeing the cruel “King” Assad. They have only hovels and nowhere else to live. No singing angels for them.


In the Philippines, hundreds of thousands are suffering deprivation like that of Jesus and his parents as they struggle to survive in the ruins caused by the greatest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines. It will be a tough and hungry Christmas for them who still survive under plastic sheets and with relief handouts. With the wind, rains and devastation came another storm – human exploitation and trafficking of the victims and orphaned children.

In the evacuation centers that I visit with a Preda relief team, we see posters showing the photos of 3 to 15 year-olds mysteriously gone missing, most likely stolen and sold. Five children were rescued from traffickers by government social workers. A team of foreigners were bringing the children to Manila for so called “good jobs” but likely for sexual exploitation.

Reggie is a teenage boy whose village was wiped out, flattened by that storm named Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines). He and five others were offered jobs on a big fishing boat by a rich merchant. They took the chance and they worked for weeks on the fishing boat and were then dropped off on land, unpaid and abandoned. They lost their dignity and wages. Reggie lost his freedom too. He was found wandering the Manila streets and imprisoned with youth accused of crimes. That’s where we found him and got him freed. He will have a happier Christmas at Preda but over a million will not.

For many true Christians, Christmas is the most important feast of the year. It celebrates the inalienable rights and dignity of all humans. Jesus of Nazareth brought these rights into the world, lived them and taught them. His birth, life, and death were a turning point in the history of the world. The human rights of the poor, the oppressed, the victims of violations, the landless, and the hungry were proclaimed in his sermon on the mount.

The rights of children were established when he said that children were the most important in the Kingdom of God, whoever accepts them accepts Him. He introduced a new era but it has taken two thousand years for these rights to be truly respected, implemented, and defended. Christmas is the time to re-establish these values and rights in our hearts and minds, in our families and society.

Christmas is time too for family reunions, sharing of gifts, symbols of life and friendship. It is a time for renewing bonds and strengthening our spiritual values, and reflecting on the mystery of life.

Easter is equally important, it celebrates the triumph of good over evil, life over death, the weak over the powerful, death and resurrection; it also has the painful story of the suffering, torture and execution of Jesus of Nazareth, a good and loving man, Son of God, Son of Man, friend to all, Messiah of the downtrodden and the oppressed. That is a painful, but powerfully inspiring story.

Yet the Christmas story of His birth, the outcast family, poor and homeless, a child born in a cave or a hovel with animals and impoverished peasants, is for many people, more special. It celebrates caring and love, friendship and family. It’s inspiring too that in such poverty, God brought about the birth of a great spiritual leader and teacher and prophet destined to challenge the ruling elites, defy the oppressors of the poor and bring values into the world that would change it and turn it inside out.

Jesus from Nazareth, a child from nowhere, became the greatest teacher the world has never forgotten despite many trying to deny, ignore and quash those values and rights. We must defend them to the end. Each of us can rediscover this great truth and experience the meaning of Christmas by renewing our faith and finding our spiritual strength to act to save the exploited, the abused and the hungry.

I thank all the good people who have supported the work at the Preda center here in Olongapo city and have donated generously to the appeal for the survivors of the typhoon whom we are helping by bringing relief directly to them. May all have a blessed and holy Christmas.

See photos on http://www.preda.org, photo gallery
Email: shaycullen@preda.org
Donations for Preda/ typhoon victims.
COLUMBAN FATHERS c/o St.Columban‘s, Widney Manor Road, Solihull B93 9AB.
or Columban Fathers, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Meath

or send donations to Preda Ireland:
Permanent TSB, Dun Laoghaire ,Co. Dublin, Ireland
account number 87930352, sorting code 990604,
swift code IBPSIE2D, IBAN IE251PBS99060487930352

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] Eyewitness account of the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda. By Fr. Shay Cullen

Eyewitness account of the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda
by Fr. Shay Cullen

I flew into Cebu City, an hours flight from Manila and drove with two Preda staff starting 3 am to visit the northern towns of Cebu Island on Tuesday, 19 November. The goal was to reach Daanbantayan, Bogo,and Bantayan Island to assess the storm damage, visit their communities and understand the situation so as to know what the needs are and to deliver aid donations directly to the people in need. The other equally important goal is to spread awareness about the need to protect orphaned children from would-be abductors and traffickers posing as relatives.


After two hours driving, we entered the disaster zone and the glimmer of lights in the houses disappeared and we drove in total darkness brought on by the typhoon Haiyan. It is a total blackout and power lines are down everywhere. The moon gave an eerie sense of isolation. The remains of houses stood silhouetted and gave the appearance of a war-torn, bombed-out battle field. These were once home to over a thousand families and are now a scene of desolation and ruin. As the dawn light touched the horizon, the specter of devastation became all the more apparent and I began to realize that I was witnessing storm destruction and personal loss to millions of people. Recovery will take many years.

As the sun rose, I saw a bleak landscape of toppled power poles, once proud towering Acacia trees stripped naked of branches and leaves shamefully naked in dark outline against the dawn sky. Hundreds of tough coconut trees snapped off mid section, a rare sight of these typhoon hardened trees yet cut in half by a wind that reached unprecedented gusts of 240 kilometers an hour. Mango trees were toppled, their roots upturned to the sky, totally vanquished the remaining leaves dead. I was appalled at the extent of the destruction; only the strongest houses of the rich were left standing. I felt awe that all this could be done in the space of two to three hours as the ferocious wind and rain storm swept over the land alike a scythe in a field of barley cutting down all before it.

I have been through ferocious typhoons during my 44 years in the Philippines but have never seen or experienced anything like this for the sheer savagery of this destructive force of nature. The gigantic force of the wind churned and turned everything it could to flying debris, smashing and tearing at everything, ripping roofs apart and carrying the metal sheets, rafters and roofs into the sky with such force that even cinder block walls collapsed before the onslaught.

Then we arrived at Daanbantayan and were surrounded by wreckage. We met people, listened to the survivors with compassion and were awed as they recounted their terrible ordeal fearing it was the end of the world and were in the jaws of a devouring monster.

The survivors told me that the coconuts were ripped from the palm tops and fired like cannon balls smashing into roofs and walls. Their children were frightened and cried as the wind screamed and howled about them and the noise of debris smashing into the trees and roofs was terrifying there; food supplies were destroyed, and the water wells contaminated.

We then drove to the ferry and took a one hour sea crossing to Bantayan island. There, we landed at Santa Fe, and witnessed more damage and destruction of homes and businesses. The churches had roof damage, yet the greatest damage was in the main town of Bantayan and the coastal area. We took a tricycle and went there. Along the way, we could see more damaged homes and buildings. The poultry industry was wiped out.

We met the Mayor and were impressed with the fast clean up, order and discipline in the town. “We saved many lives”, he said, “we ordered a forced evacuation of the fishing villages, the fisher folk were unwilling at first but then they agreed and were saved”. We have had only 16 dead but many were injured, they lost their fishing boats”.

The following day back in Cebu, we witnessed the resilience, courage and bravery of the many Filipinos that are rising above the tragedy. We met Anna and Jose in an evacuation center in Cebu. Jose is positive, hopeful and holding his new born baby that arrived during the evacuation flight. But Anna was sad and forlorn thinking of her missing father lost in Tacloban and likely dead. They put on a brave smile but underneath there was deep sadness. We discussed with officials the need to seek out unattached or orphaned children and document and register all especially orphaned children. We will send Preda social workers there to continue this work in all the evacuation centers.

The relief work goes on. Preda has donated rice and other goods to the victims and is working with the University of San Carlos, Cebu to deliver relief aid to the many victims. We thank the donors who are contributing to this work. Preda is also building awareness to protect orphaned children at risk. Every help is welcome. See photos on http://www.preda.org gallery, Email: shaycullen@preda.org.

Donations: via paypal (donate@preda.org, predainfo@gmail.com) or in pesos to Metro Bank Rizal Ave., Olongapo city with acct. no. 144-3-14452916-3 or euro donations to Preda Ireland in any Permanent TSB Branch, account number 87930352, sorting code 990604, swift code IBPSIE2D, IBAN IE251PBS99060487930352

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.

[People] The lost orphans of Yolanda. By Fr. Shay Cullen

The lost orphans of Yolanda
By Fr. Shay Cullen
November 12,2013

Besides the thousands that have been killed, injured, and made homeless by the most devastating typhoon known to humankind, the orphaned children are the most vulnerable. Their towns and villages and homes are no more and their parents are dead. They are threatened by malnutrition, kidnapping, and abduction. Horrible as this prospect is, it has been a deadly reality in times of natural disasters. These children need our special attention and direct intervention to save them from child traffickers and pedophiles. Under the pretext of saving the children, traffickers can abduct them and sell them as “brides” to pedophiles or earn hundreds of thousands of pounds or euros by providing these children for illegal adoption and even worse, sexual abuse and exploitation.


The Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has called for urgent vigilance by aid workers to this form of child trafficking in the areas devastated by the most powerful typhoon in history to hit land. Called Haiyan or by its local name “Yolanda”, it has devastated and flattened entire towns, villages, and killed scores of people in the central Philippines and their children will be known as the lost children of Yolanda. Driven by winds up to 315 kilometers an hour, brutal ordeal will scar the people of the Visayan region for a generation. We too will be judged by how we responded or when we did not.

The television reports show the extent of the devastation and the hardship, hunger and homelessness will last many months. The approaching of yet another rain storm, a tropical depression named “Zoraida” will be lashing the country by the time you read this or will be leaving more destruction to a country already reeling in shock.

As many as ten thousand and more people could have been killed. No one could predict that it would be such a killer cyclone and now the people have nothing. They are totally dependent on the generosity of donors and the ability of the government to deliver relief aid in the shortest time possible. A time will come when they will be able to pick up the strength and recover and become self-sufficient and self-reliant. But now as in all disasters, help is needed and we are called up to provide it and give back and share with those that need it most.

There are problems getting the relief to the people as roads and bridges have collapsed or buried under landslides. Bodies are decomposing under the rubble, some have been buried in mass graves. This will go on for several weeks more as rescuers and aid workers reach the remote villages

But this tragic event brings with it another kind of danger, the danger to the homeless, lost and orphaned children. With as many as fifteen thousand dead, many children will be orphaned, vulnerable to malnutrition and the worst of all, vulnerable to abduction, kidnapping, and trafficking into illegal adoptions or sexual exploitation.

Many people don’t want to read or think about such harsh and painful realities but it happens and we have to do all we can to prevent this. Preda children’s charity is appealing for donations and help to send trained social workers into the devastated area to provide a child feeding station and help find and protect these lost, homeless, abandoned children before they are abducted.

With such challenges before us, we have to summon up the spiritual strength to meet them and overcome them. The Filipino people are a very resilient people and suffer up to twenty typhoons a year and one or two strong earthquakes. Sitting on the pacific ring of fire, it is expected and when there is no exploding volcano to cope with, there are plenty of other natural disasters.

In the past 44 years that I have been a missionary in the Philippines with the people who are poor and needy, I have come through many natural disaster, super storms, floods, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and rivers of volcanic mud and “lahar” destroying all before them.

The Filipino people have shown the remarkable spiritual strength and resilience and are capable of coping with a sense of humor and smiling at cameras and even laughing at their own predicament. Not this time though, it’s harder than ever before. Yet their will to live and survive is the driving strength of the Filipino people and they do it with courage and resourcefulness and are a people who get on with the task of recovering, rebuilding and planting and harvesting year after year.

These are a people who live in hope and have a great ability to overcome all kinds of disasters and hardship. The people need food, water and shelter. The children need protection, nutrition and the good will of the world community. All need help to get them through this most terrible time in their lives. They believe in a loving God who lives in all people of faith, love and good will and this eternal force of goodness will reach out to the needy through the love of others.

Donations for the orphans of Yolanda to Fr. Cullen, St. Columban‘s, Widney Manor Road, Solihull B93 9AB or Dalgan Park Navan, Co. Meath or any TSB bank Preda – Ireland, sort code 990 604, account number 30001836. (Email shaycullen@preda.org)

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.


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] The living and the dead By Fr. Shay Cullen

The living and the dead
By Fr. Shay Cullen

In the Philippines, death is accepted as a part of living, to be coped with as inevitable, postponed if possible; grief is short lived but memories are for life. The cemetery on All Saints’ Day is a thriving celebration of life and family. On November 1st, there are gatherings around the family tomb with prayers being said, rosaries recited, thousands of lighted candles flickering and lighting up the gloom and casing all in silhouettes. Plastic flowers, picnics, singing and card games long into the night until dawn. They all pack up and go home when the vigil is done.


The rich live and die separate, apart from common humanity in life and in death. They have medium sized enclosed tombs to massive mausoleums, the poor have a simple cross or a white painted tomb, the size of a coffin made of cement blocks. It is the time when we are called to remember the living and the dead. Dying is the painful end of living.

I have been in private cemeteries where peace and quiet reigned. I was surrounded by headstones, each summed up the life and death of people in a few short words as if they had never done anything in their entire lives. It was a lonely, sad and very solemn and reverential place, invoking what we fear most – death, and what unknown fate that awaits us beyond that final moment, if anything.
Yet the dead live on in our consciousness, in our memories and on a headstone, a marker with words lies, perhaps declaring to all the world, that they loved and were well loved, even if none of it is true.

The good people who died and who were loving and lovable true friends, parents, brothers or sisters, a hero perhaps, we can grieve for them, and recall the lost love, the once happy smiling face, the warm embrace that we can feel no more.

The great loss taken away by death are the days of fun and happiness that many shared together and were snatched away by untimely, tragic, painful, sudden or prolonged dying. It continues to wrench our hearts with the pain of loss and the reality that we too must die.

When we visit the grave side, we recall the missed opportunities to forgive, to ask forgiveness, to reconcile and make peace, to tell someone we loved them but were somehow blocked. We regret the time we did not go to them and hold their hand and care and help them. Death takes away all chances to make amends.

If we have cared and helped them, did our duty, loved them and supported them, then we have no regrets, we can smile and be content, be at peace with ourselves and them and smile knowing we were true and faithful to them. Their death holds no regrets for us.
If we failed them, we can repent and weep for them and for ourselves. Death is real, but we try to make it unreal, to gloss over the painful truth that one day we too will die and be no more, or will we?

Then we will ask how we lived, what can we leave behind? We can ask was it a life lived for ourselves or for others. Have we served or been served, have given or have taken, to have kept or to have shared. Did we love and were we loved?

Life for most is precious, something to cling to, marvel at, rejoice in and enjoy to the full, sustain and protect and prolong it. To live a good life helping others is the most worthwhile of all and then we are always ready and content to face death.

For most people, it is much better to be, than not to be. So the wretched of the earth, the poorest of the poor, the so-called worthless outcasts, branded as burdens of society, living out impoverished painful lives still want to live. They have hope of better days to come.
The irresponsible and unrepentant rich can suffer from the thought of impending death and a guilty conscience after a selfish life with little help given to others in need. They too can repent and give back to the needy and make this a better world before they leave it.

It is compassion, love, and forgiveness of a heavenly Father that formed the heart of the message of Jesus of Nazareth. We can never know what the afterlife is, but if we believe, let it be based on a loving relationship with eternal goodness. Contact shaycullen@preda.org, Write Preda center, Upper Kalaklan, Olongapo City.

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[People] Indigenous people struggle for their rights By Fr. Shay Cullen

Indigenous people struggle for their rights
by Fr. Shay Cullen

The leader of the community of the Aeta indigenous people proudly led me around the hillside resettlement community where the 200 or so families were establishing a new village community. Their ancestral village and lands were wiped out in a torrential typhoon and gigantic floods. My mission, helped by the German Church agency Misereor, was to help them resettle and develop basic organic agriculture, coffee, coconut, and mangos.


As I walked the hillside, I passed dozens of small grass-roofed huts with walls of bamboo matting. Vegetable gardens and the newly planted coconut seedlings, mango saplings and coffee stood witness to the hardworking nature of these people who were once forest nomads. Their mountains are now denuded and covered with tall cogon grass. I saw how they are replanting the trees and reclaiming their deforested ancestral lands. Their days of hunting and gathering are long gone because of the massive non-stop logging of their rain-forests during the past sixty years by the greedy logging companies of the ruling elite.

Only when there was about 3 percent of the forest left and the best land had been grabbed by coconut and palm oil plantation corporations did the government ironically granted by law these indigenous people their “rights” to their ancestral lands, hills, and mountains but they were already stripped bare and greatly reduced in size. They are more reservations rather than ancestral domains. That bill that was passed was in 1997, Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) was passed after decades of campaigning by Filipino environmental and human rights groups and international pressure. It gave them nothing what was not already theirs by ancestral right.

The laws are just worthless sheets of paper without rule of law and the political will to implement them and a corruption-free judiciary. In the Philippines, the law is what the authorities say it is, something to ignore, circumvent, manipulate to their own advantage. It’s a game to cheat at, a way to get super rich and a weapon to use against their opponents.

So the logging and the land grabbing of the indigenous communities continues to this day. It has grown worse since the demand and prices of minerals have soared to incredible peaks in recent years; extractive open pit mining has become the latest cruel curse to descend on the villages of the indigenous people.

The government and their business tycoons, in partnership with international mining conglomerates, have passed mining laws that in effect run roughshod over the rights of the people and their ancestral lands, and give the mining corporations, managed by their friends and relatives in cahoots with international corporations, permits for the extraction of minerals: black sand, gold, silver, nickel, chromite, copper ore and many more valuable minerals that rightfully belong to the people.

Then waving pieces of paper meaningless to the people, the bulldozers begin to rip out the last remaining forests, excavate hills, pollute the rivers and drive away the people. Many thousands have been displaced and turned into refugees surviving in squalid centers.

Paramilitary groups like the Bagani hired to protect the mining sites have been armed by the military and allegedly secretly paid by the Philippine cronies of the multinational mining corporations. They are uncontrolled and are accused of assassinating dissidents, protestors and sympathizers and leaders of the threatened communities of indigenous people.

Father Fausto Tentorio, an Italian missionary of the PIME missionary society was well loved for his peaceful support and advocacy for the rights of the indigenous people who call themselves Lumads. He supported them in North Cotabato but was considered a threat by the mining interest in the area. One morning 17th October 2011, while leaving his rectory to go to the villages, two men on a motorcycle rode up, stopped and the one on the pillion fired repeatedly killing him dead. No one has been investigated or arrested.

Fr. Tullio Favali of PIME, of the same mission, was also shot and murdered for supporting indigenous people in blocking a logging company from ravaging the forest. Many pastors, social workers, and community organizers have been tagged as communist rebels and executed in a similar way.

After taking an active stand in support of the striking sugar workers at the Hacienda Luisita owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family, the Most Rev. Alberto Ramento, Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church in the Parish of San Sebastian, Tarlac City was stabbed to death on October 03, 2006 when assassins broke into the rectory.

The communist inspired New People’s Army move into these areas supposedly to defend the rights of the people but instead the people are caught in the crossfire as the army go after the communist rebels waging a 45 year long insurgency.

In February 2013, on Boracay island, the tourist beach for international and local tourists, community organizer Dexter Condez was gunned down while on his way home from a community meeting with the Ati indigenous people. The Ati people have been driven off most of the island by land grabbers. It was his mission. He was the parish worker defending their rights. He too gave his life for them.

This is the most authentic mission in life, being a true Christian by helping others especially the downtrodden and asking no reward other than the privilege to be a follower of the Man from Nazareth. Taking a stand for them is to stand with God.
contact shaycullen@preda.org, write to Preda Center. P.O. Box 68. Olongapo City 2200.

[People] The greatest storm By Fr. Shay Cullen

The greatest storm
By Fr. Shay Cullen

The rains would not stop even after the winds had died down. Rachel was terrified for her children and herself. Juanito, her husband had gone looking for food. The typhoon blew wild and wickedly across the Philippines leaving behind rising flood waters, mangled huts and shacks, and toppled mango trees. Even sturdy coconut trees had crashed to the ground, defiant yet overwhelmed by a force never before encountered.


Rachel, alone in her small, one-roomed bamboo and grass-roofed shack embraced her three terrified children who were crying in fear and she prayed to be spared. Her fear was heightened by the darkness and the running water, now a few feet from the hut and was rising fast. In a moment, instinct won out, she decided to run for it.

The lightning flashed and a bolt of searing lighting lit the sky for an instant through the rain and she saw a familiar landmark, the outline of a hill, high ground, and hope. Rachel abandoned her few belongings, the treasured cooking pot, the metal wok, and the thermos flask; once proud possessions but now they were of no value to her in the face of imminent death. Wealth and property become burdens on our final journey to the casket and the grave; this could be our greatest storm.

Rachel had no time or capacity for such philosophical thoughts; survival was what drove her to escape to dry land like thousands of others. She gathered up her children, Miguel and Juan Jr., clinging to her rain soaked dress and baby Ester in her arms and left the hut to wade through the rising waters.

She stumbled and staggered for half an hour keeping the children above water and splashed through the flooded rice fields. Mercifully, in the next flash of lightning, she saw a large building surrounded by hills. The lightning followed by a clap of thunder caused her to scream and the children to cry, she cried out “Jesus help us, help us”.

And help appeared. A flashlight showed the rescuers the way and soon strong arms snatched Miguel from the water that was almost up to his neck and another grabbed Juan Jr. and they waded towards the tall building and to safety on the high-ground.

Soon they were dried off, wrapped in blankets and sitting near a fire in a big warehouse, eating cooked rice and dried fish. It was salvation and happiness. Then even greater joy when she saw Juanito, her husband in the same shelter, his leg was broken, but he was alive. They hugged and were one family again.

Rachel’s story is one of thousands of the people saved but there many more who are not and they are buried in landslides, drowned in flood waters or perish of disease and malnutrition.

The frequency and ferocity of the storms hitting Asia, north and south, is a new phenomenon. It is surely the result of the climate change that the scientists had predicted, the experts foretold, that scientific evidence confirmed. It’s clear that human activity is causing it. There is no escaping the fact that the earth is warming with the gasses unleashed by irresponsible industry and human energy waste and non-stop burning of fossil fuels.

The rising gasses are trapped by the atmosphere and they blanket the planet raising its temperature. The oceans and lakes are evaporating; the atmosphere is loaded with moisture as never before and the clouds are carried inland to unleash their deadly load.

The traumatic disturbance of the planet, where all things are connected and interdependent, is evidence of our failure to protect the balance of creation, to control our greed, unsustainable consumerism and the pursuit of wealth.

When the typhoon passed and the rains ceased and the sun shone, I went to the newly constructed children’s home for sexually abused and trafficked girls. It was unoccupied as the storm hit and will remain so for a while. The children are safe in their present building closer to the city.

The rice fields through which the likes of Rachel escaped were still underwater. But I could not reach the new building, the access road within five hundred meters of it had been washed away. The government had failed to dredge the silt from the river and it quickly burst its banks.

The small stream had become a raging torrent and overwhelmed the embankment, eroded the soil, and brought down part of the perimeter safety wall. The small bridge was clogged up with many logs that had come down from the hills with the waters, evidence of rampant illegal logging in the Subic hills.

This too is causing landslides, erosion and forest destruction that brings death and loss to thousands over the years. The loss of forest is a factor in global warming. Typhoons are increasing in this beautiful yet tragic land. But we have to do more to protect God’s creation and save the planet and the people like Rachel and her family.

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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.


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)

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[People] Fair Trade Dried Mangos, a taste of justice By Fr. Shay Cullen

Fair Trade Dried Mangos, a taste of justice
By Fr. Shay Cullen

I was visiting villages where a new group of small farmers had become members of the ever growing Preda Fair Trade partnership. They lived off mixed farming and mango trees. They proudly showed me some of the benefits of the fair trade payments and dividend bonuses they received for their mango fruits.


Each family had something to show, a new well and hand pumps for clean water, a piggery, a small store, a new metal sheet roof on their small house, and a goat. Their children are going to school and there was no child labor. Simple things, but so important to them. Life had greatly improved because of Preda Fair Trade practices and that is how it should be. With greater social justice in the developing counties, life could be even better for the billion hungry people in the world.

In one village, the Preda fair trade had built a small community center where people could gather and shelter from typhoons and a Preda partner in drying mangos, “Profood”, donated a two-room school.

Junito, a farmer in Mindanao said, “Because of the good price I get from Preda for my mangos, we have better food and my children are going to school. They don’t run off to the town where they would fall into bad influence, even though we are poor, we have a decent life”.

That is one of the important unseen benefits that Preda Fair Trade brings – the prevention of child labor and exploitation. Unfortunately, thousands of teenage children, boys and girls in the Philippine islands where Preda has it projects, are lured away from poor, hungry homes with a promise of good jobs and pay as domestic helpers or in cafes and hotels.

When they arrive at the city with a recruiter or person trafficker, they are frequently sold into a sex bar where they are abused and sold to local or foreign sex tourists. The parents of the children do not know where they have gone or they too have been paid money to allow their children to go find the work. Preda social workers save many of these children and provide a safe home with therapy and education, and reunite them with their parents.

In the Preda Fair Trade partnership, the farmers receive seminars about these dangers and never to allow their children to go with recruiters. Preda has been working in this way since 1975 and implementing agricultural improvement programmes.

Overcoming poverty and hardship is a struggle for the poor and while they work hard to grow the food for the rich and better off people in the towns and cities, they don’t get the just reward for their hard work and skills in producing food that keeps everybody else alive. The goal of Fair Trade is to have a fair, living income for the small farmers. Fair trade advocates are challenging this unjust system, trying to make a more fair global trading system.

In a special way, the fair trade importers like DWP and GEPA in Germany and Libero Mundo in Italy have an alternative system. They buy direct from the farmer cooperatives for coffee or mangos though the Preda Fair Trading organization, then supply the products to the network of world shops all over Europe. The shops are managed and operated by dedicated volunteers who are aware and knowledgeable about the situation of injustice and exploitation in the developing world.

The world shops provide a wide range of beautifully presented, fairly traded products to thousands of concerned customers who want to make this a better and more just world and don’t want to be part of the exploitation and unfair international trading system.

Not only do these products directly help children in the Philippines but also children in the European countries because of the healthy nature and being free of all chemicals and additives. One third of the children in the UK for example suffer obesity due to unhealthy foods.

The fresh mangos are delivered by the small farmers to the food drying station Profood and they are paid the fair price. Then under the highest hygienic standards, the mangos are washed, pealed, sliced and dried in ovens. Then they are packaged and shipped to World Shops and supermarkets mostly in Europe.

After some weeks, the Preda producer development officer goes to the area to visit the farmers and gets the records from the Profood drying stations for the number of kilos each farmer delivered and pays them a bonus dividend. Every transaction is recorded carefully to provide full transparency. There is much we can all do to make this a more fair and just world. Buying Fair Trade products helps this cause.

It’s so encouraging to know there are wonderful people involved in this movement and to hear Pope Francis tell the world that the Catholic Church must focus more on social justice, compassion, peace-making and helping victims and the wounded in this world. We can help bind up the world of injustice by doing justice and supporting Fair Trade. It’s helping heal the exploited children too. (visit http://www.predafairtrade.net, email shaycullen@preda.org)

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[People] Pope Francis working for peace in Syria By Fr. Shay Cullen

Pope Francis working for peace in Syria
By Fr. Shay Cullen


When Pope Francis called for a peaceful and prayerful response and a negotiated conclusion for the Syrian savage civil and sectarian religious war, he was speaking with deep concern, wisdom, and spiritual insight. Working for a non-violent solution is the greatest good. It seems his words have been heeded. Prayer works.

A missile strike by the United States and supporting countries against Syria has been averted for now. The threat was to stop more chemical attacks.

Over a 100,000 civilians have been killed in the past two years, mostly by the government forces and now more by the most deadly chemical poison gas attack last 21 August in Damascus, in a rebel held area, as confirmed by the UN chemical weapons investigators. The gas killed over 1,429 women and children (400 of them children) in the worst crime against humanity so far. Whole cities have been destroyed and deserted.

Russia is a long time ally of Syria and continues to supply the Assad regime with weapons and they set up Assad’s chemical warfare capabilities many years ago. The stockpiles are in about 42 locations all over the country. The media has shown that some of the precursor chemical ingredients for the deadly nerve poison gas Sarin was also supplied by Western countries including British companies.

The greatest fear by all is that some of the stockpiles could fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda terrorists to be used against their enemies including Israel and Western countries. The threat of imminent missile strikes by the United States and its supporters have now receded. It seems that Pope Francis’ call for non violent solutions was heard.

The American Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned in an otherwise belligerent speech a few weeks ago that the chemical weapons of President Assad must be put out of action and beyond use, one way or another.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin seized on that remark as a negotiating approach to head off an attack by the United States and developed it as a solution by putting the Syrian chemical weapons under international control. No easy task. This was welcomed by President Obama while leaving the threat of a US unilateral attack is still on the table. The agreement has been reached but giving until June 2014 for them all to be removed and destroyed is too long a time.

A US preemptive missile strike could cripple Assad’s war capabilities and also have far reaching unexpected and unseen consequences and ignite a regional war. It could lead to the fall of the Assad regime, then the Christian communities in Syria would be the target of massacres by the fanatical Islamic jihads or holy war warriors fighting to establish a Islamic state in Syria. They are committing war crimes themselves. The more moderate Muslim opponents of Assad have these radicals to cope with.

The Christians are unfortunately loosely identified as allied with Assad. The Alawites, the Muslin Sect founded in the 8th century to which Assad and his followers belong make up 12% of the Syrian population but have ruled with an iron fist for the past forty years. They face possible massacres too if Assad falls.

Why are the Russians so defensive of Syria and Assad, a war criminal, his regime and his cronies? One could be that corrupt Russian business cronies of Putin have billions of dollars and gold stashed away in secret accounts in Syria as a safe haven like they have in Cyprus. The Russians almost went berserk when the EU central bank demanded a big tax on those billions to pay Cyprus’s debts.

Another reason the Russian government opposes any US military action is because it has sold billions of dollars worth of alleged useless aerial defense systems to Assad and other countries. US advanced military technology will quickly overwhelm them showing they are antiquated and ineffective defense systems as was seen in Libya. An alleged massive fraud that will damage the Russian arms industry in the eyes of its many customers worldwide.

The complexity of the competing sectarian fractions in Syria each supported by different outside countries makes the conflict a proxy religious war. In Syria, the population is Shia’s 13%, Sunnis 72%, Alawites 12%, Christian and Druze 3%.

The only likely peaceful solution will have to be found by forming temporary self ruling regions with representatives in a coalition government in Damascus. That solution is not very successful in Iraq except for the Kurdish region in north Iraq but it could be better than continuous all-out war. Working for peace, a cease-fire, and negotiations has to be the way forward. [shaycullen@preda.org,www.preda.org]

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[People] A story of one girl’s fight for justice By Fr. Shay Cullen

A story of one girl’s fight for justice
By Fr. Shay Cullen


Here is a story that will gladden the hearts of all who care about children, abhor child abuse and are willing to speak out for human rights. It’s a story of a child’s courageous struggle against all odds. People of good conscience who shun evil and wrongdoing will hunger and thirst for justice and someday, if we struggle hard enough together, we have a greater chance of finding justice than if we stay silent and do nothing.

So it was for 14 year-old Martina, she sought justice. She grew up in an impoverished family in Olongapo city not far from the sex industry where young girls are lured and trafficked into prostitution and captured by the bar owners of many nationalities. It had a bad influence on her father.

Her mother, Maria, suffered leukemia and her father was unemployed and did part time jobs for a living and got money from relatives. Without a regular job, the family could not pay for health insurance. The medical system is so privatized and medical help is so expensive, the poor cannot survive even common diseases. There is no social insurance or a national health care system in the Philippines.

Maria wasted away and died and left Martina alone with her father who turned to smoking marijuana and took to visiting the cheaper sex bars. He met young enslaved teenagers there and became addicted to abusing the young girls. The drugs made him aggressive and moody and one night, he attacked and raped Martina, his own daughter. She was shocked, hurt, and traumatized.

The corrupt political practice of condoning and allowing a thriving sex industry run mostly by foreigners who prostitute young girls with impunity has eroded the moral values and corrupted family and community life.

Most child rapists terrorize their victims with threats of torture and death if they tell anyone. Martina was threatened with death by her father. She endured the abuse in silence and he, believing his terror tactic was working, raped her several more times. Unable to endure it any longer, Martina ran away to her material auntie in Taguig, Metro Manila.

Her auntie noticed her traumatized state and gently asked her what had happened. Martina cried and found the courage to tell her auntie. She told the most difficult thing of all – she was pregnant. Shocked and angered, the Auntie filed a criminal complaint against the father. The police filed the charges in Olongapo City and the social workers from Taguig called the Preda children’s home hot-line to refer Martina for counseling, shelter and therapy. She was welcomed into the Preda Home for sexually exploited and abused children and felt at home with the other forty children and the Preda professional staff.

The Prosecutor Joy Bayona quickly acted and resolved the case and filed it in court on 5 May 2011, and when the accused did not appear to answer the charges, an arrest warrant was issued. He went into hiding, it took many months for Preda paralegal workers to find him and have the police arrest him. During this time, Martina, still under care at Preda, was brought to a special clinic and gave birth to a normal healthy baby boy.

By 20 October 2011, five months later, the arraignment was set in the family court, Olongapo city. It was postponed and reset for 3 November 2011, then postponed again; Judge Pamintuan being absent. After two more postponements, the arrangement was finally set on 25 May 2012; one year after the arrest warrant was issued.

The wheels of justice having stopped a few times began to grind again with all the supporters of Martina pushing and shoving. The abusive father pleaded not guilty. The case dragged on and more delays were made. It is a common legal tactic hoping the child would give up and fail to appear as a witness, the case could then be dismissed. Martina would not give into the pressure to give up. She feared that many more children would be abused if he went free and he might harass or attack her again.

There were eight more postponements with months between the settings due to various reasons. Then after some lobbying by Preda Senior staff to the court administrator of the Supreme Court, Judge Bautista was appointed to assist Judge Pamintuan. He took on the case of Martina. The accused was advised by his counsel to plead guilty to a lesser charge and he was found guilty on three charges of rape and was sentenced to ten years for each charge which is equal to a life sentence.

The Preda paralegal officer, Marlyn Capio requested the judge to consider the plea of Martina to have a barring order issued so that if ever he got out, he could not pursue her. Judge Bautista did so.

This week, the case ended a long protracted pursuit of justice and the end of the rampage of a serial child sex offender. Martina is a survivor, healed, supported and empowered by her courage and brave pursuit of justice and truth. Martina is reintegrated to a happy family. The child is healthy and well. [shaycullen@preda.org; http://www.preda.org]

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[People] Supporting the good, honest NGOs by Fr. Shay Cullen

Supporting the good, honest NGOs
by Fr. Shay Cullen


These days the good name of non-government organizations (NGOs), church charities and people’s organizations in the Philippines have been dragged into the mud and disrepute by the corrupt acts of politicians who used fake NGOs and charities and even government agencies to launder stolen public funds entrusted to them for poverty alleviation and development projects.
The generalization of the media in referring to NGOs as being the channel of stolen government funds may give the public a wrong impression as if many of the thousands of civil society organizations were involved when only a small number of fake NGOs and charities were set up specifically to launder the public money into the pockets of the corrupt politicians.

We have to take a stand for the good, upright charities, and non-government organizations of civil society and their human rights defenders, social workers, priests and pastors and church workers who have given themselves, risking their lives for the poor and the exploited throughout the Philippines and have not been involved with dirty money offered by politicians.

The media must be sure to use the correct vocabulary and name the fake, false and corrupt shell organizations as “fronts for corruption and skullduggery” or similar terms to distinguish them from the honest, dedicated, good organizations helping the poor. Media must take care not to carelessly and inadvertently use the term NGO indiscriminately lest they wrongfully brand every charitable organization as part of a criminal conspiracy.

It has been revealed that there are many corrupt politicians who got lump sums of public funds for development projects and allegedly set up fake agencies, charities and non-government organizations through their business cronies. They even used many municipal governments to launder the public money released to them for development and poverty alleviation and hunger relief projects.

The crony opened a bank account in the name of the fake organizations, deposited the funds, and then withdrew a big percentage of the money for themselves and gave the bulk of it back to the politician. The most hurtful aspect that has angered millions of Filipinos who marched by their thousands last Monday in protest, is that the crooks are multi-millionaires already. Their overwhelming greed is like an addiction and it has caused great hunger and poverty. The “March of Millions” in the Luneta Park that began last Monday was to protest and to stop the “March of Millions of Pesos” into the bank accounts of the politicians and their cronies and demand the lump sums hand-out to the members of Congress be abolished.

This is the very reason that the Preda Foundation Inc. that I began 38 years ago never took donations from politicians or from big businesses in its long history serving exploited, impoverished and abused children, indigenous and poor people. Instead, we challenged and demanded accountability from them and were met with hostility, threats, and even closure of our children’s centers and deportation.

Instead, this charity is semi-self reliant and has partners that conduct strict monitoring and audits every year, the most recent of which is an “unqualified audit report” wherein everything is accounted for properly. Well managed charities and NGOs in the developing countries will have strict accountability audits and scrutiny by their supporters and partners. They need to have positive and successful “outputs” and narrative reports to justify the funding. Here is one child’s positive victory of the many successful outcomes among the hundreds of children helped by the Preda charity in past years and other genuine charities will have similar positive results. (www.preda.org)

In the case of Diane who was 14 years old when her father, himself a policeman, very likely influenced by the impunity enjoyed by sex tourists began to use her, his own daughter, as his sex slave and subjected her to repeated acts of rape for almost two years.

The child ran to relatives but they were unwilling to support her and help her escape from the father. This is a cultural weakness that allows so much child sexual abuse to continue. It’s a culture of fear, shame, and cover up for fear of the abuser.

Diane wanted the abuse to stop and to find justice and in desperation she turned to her teachers and government social workers in Valenzuela, North of Manila and then they called in the Preda Children’s home for legal assistance, shelter and recovery for Diane. If not for them working together with the Preda Foundation, this horrific abuse would have continued that could have driven the child to suicide. It’s just one case of many.

Despite the danger from an aggressive and violent abuser, the Preda Foundation social workers helped her escape to freedom in the Preda children’s home in Olongapo City. There she overcame the trauma, shock and depression and she found the courage to file a legal case against her father despite the opposition of her mother and relatives. Judge Nancy Rivas-Palmones of the Valenzuela family Court found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Good things do happen and the many thousands of good NGOs and charitable institutions are saving hundreds of thousands of children from abuse and hunger where the politicians and government agencies despicably fail despite helping to launder stole public money. Let’s keep the truth out front and support the good, honest charities out there, they are not perfect but most are not corrupt. They have dedicated church workers risking themselves to save the children and victims of human rights violations. shaycullen@preda.org ,www.preda.org P.0. Box 68, Olongapo City 2200

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[People] The return of US bases to the Philippines by Fr. Shay Cullen, Mssc

The return of US bases to the Philippines
By Fr. Shay Cullen, Mssc


Subic Bay, Philippines – After 44 years working for human rights and social development in Olongapo city, the former home port of the US 7th Fleet, I have seen the futility of using military violence to solve political and territorial problems. The Korean, Vietnam, and Middle Eastern wars were launched or supported from here. The massive loss of human life and destruction makes war untenable. The return of the US marines, navy and air force to the Philippines will not advance a peaceful negotiated settlement of the sea dispute between the Philippines and China. It’s like calling in the neighborhood strong man to threaten a school yard bully. Dialogue is better and wiser than the threat of violence and confrontation especially when the US has no intention to carry it out. A non-enforceable threat fizzles out like a damp squib. The so-called negotiations between the Philippine government and the United States for “rotational” US troop deployments here to oppose Chinese expansionism make little sense. It will be a basing agreement which is unconstitutional. There must be another hidden purpose.

The Philippine government made the correct move in taking the dispute over the occupation and claims of China to Philippine shoals and islands to the United Nation, bringing in the US military as a threat will not help. What the Philippines needs to do is to summon up its courage and stand up for itself to China, the bully boy of Asia, and shake off its colonial dependency on the United States to rattle its sabers at every incursion of Chinese ships.

If the Philippine government officials will take an independent, non-violent stand to defend its sovereign territory in the strongest words possible, it will win international respect and cooperation and there will be a worldwide protest and outcry against the aggressive occupation and claims of China to Philippine territory. Rushing to hide behind the iron skirts of Mother America is shameful, an indication of moral weakness and an unnecessary embarrassment for the brave Filipino people who can fight non-violently for their rights.

The one thing that a proud nation like China wants to avoid is the shame and criticism that might be heaped on it by the world if it persists in its baseless claims to Philippine territorial waters. It has to protect its “face”, that aura of dignity and honor that it believes it needs to convince world opinion that it is acting in a right and just way when in fact it may not be. It’s time for China to back away with dignity and “save face”. World opinion is a mightier weapon than US warplanes and ships.

China will want to show to the world that it is a responsible member of the international community and not be dubbed a predatory, aggressive, sea-grabbing nation. This negative incursion into territorial waters will damage its credibility in Africa and South America where it is trying to win friends and spread its influence. When international criticism and the ire of nations grows and less trade is the result, it may all the sooner relinquish its baseless claims to Philippine territorial waters and shoals. No amount of oil and gas resources buried beneath the waters will be worth international repudiation.

China will not be intimidated by a show of force anyway. As a proud, ancient civilization, one of the oldest on earth, they know that the US will never be so foolish to resort to threats of military violence or engage in conflict on behalf of the Philippines. So the increased presence of the US military will not frighten China, only increase its resolve. Political action on the world stage by the Philippines and its supporters is the way to resolve this problem.

It was long argued if the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US covered such disputes as occurred over the Spratly Islands, and the US made it clear at that time it was not bound to act in such a dispute. US Military assistance is only offered if the Philippines is attacked. So why is the US so eager to come back to the Philippines as part of its “pivot” towards Asia, what’s in it for them?

A more realistic purpose for the return to bases in the Philippines is to position troops, drones, planes and ships in proximity to areas where militant Islamist organizations affiliated with Al-Qaeda are active. Resurgent groups in Mindanao, Indonesia, Malaysia could pose a threat to American interests and for the US to have the capability of a fast response to present and future threats is an important advantage. The closing of 19 US embassies recently is an indication of the level of that terrorist threat and the Philippine bases are an ideal location for propositioning US forces to counter it and at the same time guard international sea lanes from pirates. The recent bomb blasts (including the first car bomb) in Philippine cities could well be the response of the jihads to this planned return. The Filipino people will be the first to suffer.

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[People] Your child or grandchild could be next CP victim by Fr. Shay Cullen

Your child or grandchild could be next CP victim
by Fr. Shay Cullen


Children as young as six can access the internet and parents and grandparents don’t have a clue about it. Disgusting and psychologically damaging images are being sent to cell-phones, computers and pads daily and some may just pop up on your child’s or grandchildren’s device. It is a traumatic experience for anyone especially a child to see images of another child being sexually assaulted by an adult. Your child will have a radical change of relationship and perception of adults, their parents, and the world as a result. The innocent child will be psychologically assaulted, shocked, haunted, and damaged.

My recent article calling for new laws to curb child pornography everywhere and especially in the Philippines drew a letter of concern from Social Welfare Undersecretary Parisya H. Taradja. I claimed that the present laws are not being implemented to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to filter and block child pornography as mandated by RA9775.

The Undersecretary and millions more people have reason indeed to be concerned that child pornography is a worldwide phenomena and is uncontrolled and can be on the computer or cell phone of every child or adult without their consent. Every picture or image of a child being abused or even simulated violent rape images or videos cause children or women to be raped and abused somewhere in the world. The child is violated every time his or her image is viewed and passed on from one offender to another. The images stimulate more and more acts of abuse against children and women.

Parisya H. Taradji, Undersecretary for Operations and Programs group of the DSWD, when she read my column, advised me to contact the Inter-agency Council against Child Pornography (IACACP). (see the full article on http://www.preda.org). The IACACP is mandated by R.A. 9775 to monitor compliance and the implementation of Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009. God knows I spent many a long day with the legal team of former Senator Jamby Madrigal making suggestions to them and to the UNICEF legal expert assigned to help draft the law.

I lobbied successfully in particular for that provision in the law to compel internet service providers and telephone companies to install filters to block the access to child porn web sites and to block unwanted child porn pictures being downloaded into computers and cell phones.

But as far as I can find out, they do not comply with the law. The IACACP apparently knows this because it says on its website that as many as 20,000 illegal images of children being sexually abused are posted on-line every day. This is just an estimate but it shows that the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are not obeying or implementing the law. They can also check with the UK based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to have a check of Philippine internet providers. They are authorized to search for the child porn websites whereas citizens cannot do so legally.

Our friends at the IACACP, Director Paricia B. Luna of the Social Technology Bureau, the government officials, and NGO members of the IACACP like ECPAT and Stairways Foundation, have to get very serious and challenge and confront the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the ISPs with their violations of the law. They ought to pressure them to get the filters and remind them they could be aiding and abetting criminal acts by allowing free access to anyone, even children, to view child pornography. The images of child abuse is the driving force for some pedophiles to go out and rape and even murder children.

I wrote to Undersecretary Parisya H. Taradji in reply, “Preda cares for victims of sexual abuse in our children’s recovery homes and know from their terrible experience the devastating effect of abuse and child pornography that drives the abuser to commit heinous crimes.”

The Internet Watch Foundation in the UK is authorized to police the internet and access and search for child pornography legally, whereas we are not. If any internet service provider finds any such image, they are obliged by law to report it to IACACP agency. The server providers can block it themselves and report it to IWF. How many reports have there been?

I e-mailed a vice president of PLDT last week asking if he had any information about PLDT filters in place against child pornography and he replied he had no knowledge and asked another official, but we have no reply yet. I invite all ISPs to respond and inform the nation what they have done to protect children online and to curb child porn coming through their servers.

The law is the law and it must, for the sake of the nation, be respected and fully implemented for the children and the people.

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Universe, 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] Skin whiteners damage people and national dignity By Fr. Shay Cullen, Mssc

Skin whiteners damage people and national dignity
By Fr. Shay Cullen, Mssc


Imagine the scene in a charity clinic where a teenager was brought threatening suicide. Barbara, 17 years old, was crying out in her anguish, beating her clenched fists on the table and screaming, “I can’t live with a face like this, I am better off dead, dead”. She wailed and wept and the nurses could see the cause of her anger and frustration, uneven dark and white blotches had disfigured her face, the result of dangerous toxic skin whitening creams. She wanted to look like a movie star but it all went wrong.

Barbara was persuaded to calm down and get counseling and help to reverse the condition. We have reason to fear and ban the deadly disease-causing products that disfigure young people, who are feeling insecure and inferior because of a darker complexion. With therapy and counseling, Barbara overcame her trauma and was later empowered enough to be an advocate for racial equality. Those products are truly racist for wrongly promoting the white skinned Caucasian as a superior being and by implying everyone else is a lesser human being.

Whatever skin cream you use, be sure that it is non-toxic and not a skin whitener or bleaching agent. The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned 16 dangerous skin whitening products containing toxic cancer-causing substances. They are suspected of containing high levels of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic. “Continuous use of these products may cause adverse or allergic reactions that can result to severe or irreversible skin problem”, FDA said last week.

Even worse can happen when the dangerous chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause skin cancer, liver, and kidney damage or poisoning. Hydroquinone, a toxic substance is found in many of the skin whitening and bleaching products; they are very dangerous and can disfigure a person’s face over time. (See http://www.preda.org/mailings/mail.cgi/r/preda/732551950078/hronlineph/gmail.com/ and Youtube)

Young people need to be given affirmation and positive re-enforcement and assurances that they are good, valuable, and loved persons irrespective of race, creed, or skin colour. They need a positive self-image based on good character, spiritual values and not based on outward physical appearance and how one looks. They need to accept themselves as they are, not how cosmetic surgical procedures or skin whitening will make them look. It’s what you are as a person, not how you physically look that matters.

They need help to understand that “true face” is based on integrity and comes from their belief in their own inner goodness, their abilities to help others, being unselfish and authentic and having awareness and respect for human rights and dignity.

Having “face” is an important Asian value; it is the respectful self-image, the dignity of a nation, family and the individual. It is supposedly based on a reputation for goodness, honor, and being true to your word. To lose “face” is to be humiliated, have one’s name besmirched and thus to lose the respect of others or be dishonored or diminished in some way. Everybody needs and deserves the respect and dignity due to every person.

The lack of integrity, cheating and lying, and hypocrisy are the common practice in society and among the greatest cheats are those who make false claims and peddle false images of health and beauty. The advertising, fashion, makers of cosmetic products such as skin whiteners and some medical practitioners do the greatest damage. Instead of giving the “face” that comes from spiritual values, they have created a false image of so called “beauty” that is racist and discriminates against all who do not fit that image. We are made in the image and likeness of God, not that concocted by a beautician.

Many years ago, the “beauty” industry chose to promote a particular image or “most desirable face” that others would be urged to imitate. Their principle beauty model of the ideal movie star celebrity image is one that is slim, white-skinned and looks Caucasian. They seemingly set out to develop and exploit a colonial mentality. In the world of fashion, there are exceptions. Cosmetic surgeons and skin whitening makers are raking in billions of dollars around the world from straightening noses, doing face lifts, eye alterations, bleaching skin white and giving other cosmetic enchantment procedures.

Skin whitening products are considered “racist”, they, by their very existence, promote the false, insulting and racist belief that darker skin colour is indicative of an inferior person or lower race or connotes ugly and not attractive. They promote the attitude that “white is right”. It’s a business that destroys the honor of the people and a loss of true “face”, the one that means self respect and personal honor as a people. These products must be roundly denounced and people of all nations must boycott and shun them. shaycullen@preda.org,www.preda.org. Postal: St. Columbans, Navan, Ireland.

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Universe, 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] New laws needed to block child porn by Fr. Shay Cullen

New laws needed to block child porn
by Fr. Shay Cullen


When a German national child abuse suspect was arrested and jailed in Butuan city, Mindanao earlier this year, police found incriminating evidence in his laptop computer, of horrific photos of small Filipino boys as young as 8 years old being sexually abused by the suspect . Photos showed the children being made to abuse each other. These were made for possible sharing with other pedophiles over the internet. He is presently on trial in that city. We wait for justice to be done.

However, while only a few pedophiles are arrested, hundreds if not thousands more pedophiles of all nationalities roam free to abuse at will; more has to be done to catch them.

Much child sexual abuse is driven by the easy and rampant sex tourism that is allowed by government. More damaging is the easy uncontrolled access to the child porn websites. These are accessed without controls or filters despite the Philippine law (RA9775) that orders internet service corporations to block all access to such web sites. There are few such laws like it in the world. See http://www.preda.org. The internet service provider corporations have allegedly not installed filters to block child porn under section 9 of republic Act 9775 and allegedly prefer to pay a fine than respect the law. In past research, I asked some to comment but got no reply.

The National Telecommunications Commission is mandated under RA 9775 (section 9) to enforce the law but seems to be looking the other away. The Anti-child Porn Alliance (ACPC-Pilipinas) is struggling against public and government apathy, inaction and indifference. Meanwhile, thousands of children are horribly abused and the images of the abuse are being posted on the internet. Child rapists and those arrested for child sexual abuse have been found to have frequently searched, accessed and downloaded child pornography which can drive them to acts of sexual assault against children. Child pornography can lead to child rape and murder.

The case of Tia Sharp, a twelve year old living with her grandmother in South London, was sexually assaulted and murdered by Stuart Hazell, a live-in sex partner of the child’s grandmother in 2012. Hazell was considered a heterosexual yet he secretly had pedophile tendencies. He took special sexual interest in Tia and repeatedly photographed her. On the internet, he was searching and viewing images of incest and pedophile images. Left alone with Tina by the over trusting grandmother, he raped and murdered her. Evidence shows she fought back. There is little doubt that the internet searches contributed to his perverted crimes of child rape and murder.

Hazell is an internet enabled pedophile. Law enforcers and some of the public tend to trivialize this terrible abuse of children. Some think it is a victimless crime yet every image is a terrible crime against the child victim.

The last photo made by Tia’s killer, Stuart Hazell was her dead, naked body placed in a sexual position. What’s important to note is that Hazell and many other men become child abusers by viewing the images on the internet sites. What more evidence do we need to have stronger blocking and filtering laws to regulate Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and all internet search companies and server corporations that enable Internet access? They are an open door to child abuse and the corporate managers and stockholders are holding it open. Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil”, but they are not living up to that it seems, they should change it to “Always do good”. That door to Child Pornography must be closed and locked and Goggle and the other internet corporations have the keys.

Those who oppose any blocking and filtering of child pornography wrongly claim the practice will spread to blocking other access to the internet. In Britain alone, according to projections by credit card companies, there are 250,000 people accessing child porn sites regularly, male and female. The server providers have a voluntary self regulation but it’s not being implemented. There are so many violators police cannot cope. Out of 250,000, they have charged 1,848 and won 1,451 convictions.

For a nation to have good governance, it has to enforce the law to protect children. Parents must demand action and control their children’s access to computers and the internet. There are practical ways to stop child pornography once and for all, and protect children through implementing the present laws and enact amended and stronger legislation that will compel all search companies like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask jeeves, etc. and server providers to:

*Bloc access to child porn and violent rape web sites and mobile phones and through recording/viewing devices like DVDs MP3 players etc.
*Outlaw and ban the sale or access to video games depicting child sex abuse and violent rape, real or simulated.
*Have all homes with internet connections to be asked if they want filters to impede access to child porn or violent rape sites. They can opt out on the record.
*New subscribers to internet connections will have to declare that they want or don’t want access to obscene material.
*Pop up messages should appear on the computer screen giving a dire warning if the user tried to bypass filters and access banned sites.
* Above all parents, teachers and adults must campaign for this to protect children and make the internet a safe place to play and learn.

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[People] The young leaders of today are the hope of tomorrow By Fr. Shay Cullen

The young leaders of today are the hope of tomorrow
By Fr. Shay Cullen

325-Fr. Shay Cullen

The incredible courage, bravery, and dedication of young people is what the world needs to inspire and lead us into the future. Malala Yousafzai is a striking example of the capability of the youth to give the good example where adults are failing. Her speech to the United Nations ignited the hope and activism of youth around the world.

Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban assassin because she was such a powerful determined advocate of the universal right to education. She shows just how influential young people can be if only we listen to them and allow them to have their role and to take the lead at times.

The adult leaders, parents, teachers politicians, and the general public should realize that there are great youth leaders and youth groups who are giving their time and energy to saving the planet, helping the hungry, the oppressed, jailed children and they are campaigning for one important cause or another. They need the encouragement and support of the adult world because they deserve it; it’s the right and good way to educate and develop good positive and caring character and personality in youth while growing up. The youth are the leaders of the future and they will take on the duty and obligation to support the passing aging generation.

What they need to grow strong and mature, besides healthy food and education, is for their inner self to be nourished with spiritual values. These are positive attitudes, relationships that cannot be bought at the supermarket such as trust, respect, affirmation, inspiration, encouragement, good example, security, emotional support, affection and friendship.

A nation is judged by the way it cares and nurtures its children. How very true this is. Parents, teachers, and authorities in general ought to put aside the age old practice of asserting negative authority over young people. The youth are filled with a desire to be acknowledged, respected, and encouraged in their activities and not to be scolded, judged and chided for youthful enthusiasm, immaturity, and mistakes. We all make mistakes so tolerance, understanding, patience, and forbearance is what adults need to have towards them. Then they will learn to overcome human frailties as they grow to maturity.

Given that encouragement and respect, they will become advocates of the good and beautiful just as Malala has done. Her parents are also to be admired for giving her the opportunity and support in her pursuit of education and the rights of all to go to school in the face of threats and intimidation.

It must be seen that these youthful heroes are striving to do good for all and what greater good is there than to sacrifice for the well-being of others. The young people of the world have these surging desires and hopes and must be allowed to exercise them with trust and as team work with adults.

Openings must also be made, to give as many as possible opportunities to express themselves in the arts, music and theatre. Self-expression is essential for young people to come to a sense of their own self-worth and value as a human person. They reach that through the opportunities provided to them by the adults in their lives.

There is the Filipino Akbay Theater group supported by the Preda Foundation. Over the past many years, group after group have trained, practiced and performed their musical drama to near perfection. They are passionate and dedicated to inspiring and enlightening the audiences about the social realities of life of young people. They use this as a form of self-expression and an educational tool that appeals to the heart, emotions, and minds of the audience.

They spend hours and day in preparation for their local and international tours across Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan. There, they have inspired many people who moved to tears and came to an emotional and mental awaking. Then, with their own, real characters formed on this commitment, most carry it over to lives of virtue. They have honesty and integrity as strong-minded servant leaders. When they marry and have a family, the same life-enhancing virtues of loving, care and sacrifice for their wives, husbands and children is clearly apparent.

The volunteers at Preda Centre, Olongapo, Filipinos and from several nationalities, are the model of youth in action. They are living out their belief and faith in a greater eternal force of goodness and love. The Gospel message of the good Samaritan is uppermost in their hearts and they want the opportunity to make it a reality in their everyday lives. These are the youth leaders of today and the best hope of good leaders in the future.

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Universe, 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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