The Quezon City Local Government, under the leadership of Mayor Joy Belmonte, has renewed its partnership with Bantay Bata 163 to provide comprehensive child care and protection services to children below 18 years old through the programs provided by Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village.
Representatives from the Quezon City LGU and ABS-CBN Foundation signed the memorandum of agreement to renew their partnership on October 7, 2019 at Restaurant 9501.
This year Belmonte has pledged P28 million in financial assistance for the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village, which provides shelter and care to children who need medium- long-term rehabilitation referred by the city’s Social Service Development Department (SSDD).
“We renewed our partnership with Bantay Bata 163 because we see it as a dependable partner in providing reliable protection and care to children who are in need of utmost attention,” said Belmonte.
“Through this partnership, we expect that neglected, abandoned, abused, and exploited children will be provided with a family-like atmosphere and care that only Bantay Bata can give,” she added.
The Children’s Village is a half-way home for children who are neglected, abandoned, abused, and exploited. It ensures residential care services for its clients, providing basic needs, as well as holistic therapy and resilience programs conducted by experts and trained social workers in a family-like environment.
“Julie” (not her real name), one of the beneficiaries of the Children’s Village, spoke before the guests of the MOA signing event on how her stay in the half-way home made an impact in her life.
“Masayang-masaya kami dito dahil naramdaman namin, lalo na ako, na mayroon kaming halaga sa bawat tao na nandito. At naranasan ko, at ganun din ang ibang bata, ang pagmamahal ng isang magulang. Dahil dito sa Bantay Bata 163, hinuhubog ang aking pagkatao para maging isang disiplinado at may respeto na bata sa kapwa. At dahil din sa Bantay Bata ay nakakapag-aral ulit ako, at ganun din ang ibang mga batang nandoon. At nasusuportahan nila kami sa anumang bagay at napupunan ang ilan naming mga pangangailangan. At mas nagkakaroon na din ako ng tiwala sa aking sarili,” said “Julie”
(“We’re very happy here at the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village because we feel valued. The love and support they give us is like that of a real parent. Our lives are being shaped to become disciplined and respectful to others. And because of Bantay Bata 163, we’re able to study again. They support us and give us our basic needs. I’m starting to feel confident with myself.”)
Jing Castañeda, Bantay Bata 163’s Program Director, expresses her gratitude for the continuous support from the LGU.
“This year, we feel blessed and grateful that we are levelling up Bantay Bata 163’s partnership with the local government of Quezon City. Last year, we began this partnership to help relaunch the Children’s Village. But this year, the partnership is extending beyond the village because of the various new programs which aim to create a safer, more protective environment for our children. This includes providing a quick response to child abuse reports through Bantay Bata’s Hotline 163, and ensuring action to cases on missing and foundling children, through report sharing and more strategic media exposures, to be able to locate their families and bring the children back to their homes,” says Castañeda.
Under the partnership, the SSDD will refer abused, abandoned, neglected or exploited children who are residents of Quezon City or those who reached out in their area to be housed in the Children’s Village.
The organization’s aim for the children in this facility is to eventually reintegrate them to their families who have been provided intervention by the QC government or be given alternative child care arrangements should their families be unfit to take back custody of their children.
Sharing the same mission of ensuring the safety and protection of children, Quezon City and Bantay Bata 163 continue their combined efforts in championing the rights of the Filipino children.
Susan Afan, ABS-CBN Foundation’s Managing Director, adds, “Quezon City has been ABS-CBN’s home for nearly ten decades now and since then, they have created dreams for nearly thousands of Filipinos. This time, we are happy that we are creating an even stronger relationship through this partnership in helping children grow and build their own dreams in the Children’s Village.”