Philippine Concert King Martin Nievera; This Generation’s Movie Queen Bea Alonzo; Primetime Hunk Ian Veneracion; young Total Performer Darren Espanto; and Megastar Sharon Cuneta together with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and Maestro Gerard Salonga lent their talents at the event that paid tribute to Bantay Bata children and the social workers, volunteers, and donors who have been helping them in the last two decades.
In his speech, ABS-CBN Chairman Eugenio Lopez III emphasized ABS-CBN’s commitment to protect the welfare of children.
“For 20 years, Bantay Bata 163 was able to successfully touch the hearts of a deeply sympathetic, compassionate, and caring race through the creativity, technology, and reach of media. It is an honor that ABS-CBN was able to rally its worldwide audience to support the cause and as a result, Bantay Bata has directly benefitted over a million Filipino children,” he said.
One of the people who partnered with Bantay Bata 163 was Gathercole, who was a victim of abuse himself during his younger years. His life story was even featured in the drama anthology “Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK)”, where he was portrayed by actor Arjo Atayde.
Once again, Gathercole was able to share his journey from living in the streets of Manila to designing for international celebrities like Britney Spears, Katy Perry, J Lo, Carrie Underwood, and Beyonce during the dinner’s fashion show, which showcased his avant-garde pieces that were inspired by his life experiences.
Meantime, Bantay Bata 163 also reiterated its fight against rampant online sexual exploitation of children in the program. To address the cases of cyber bullying and child pornography in the country, the organization aims to seek partners who will help upgrade the 163 hotline, and will increase its online presence to ensure the safety of children.
According to UNICEF, eight out of every ten Filipino children and adolescents are in danger of being sexually abused online, making the Philippines one of hotspots for online child abuse. In 2016, the Philippines also ranked the “first global source of child pornography” and the “epicentre of the live-stream sexual abuse trade.” Through the fund-raising dinner, Bantay Bata hopes to continue protecting and saving children from child abuse as it has done so in the past two decades.
To date, Bantay Bata 163 has assisted close to 65,000 children in their medical needs, rescued almost 2,000 abused children and provided legal assistance to many of them. They also granted scholarships to more than 52,000 children and served more than a million children and their parents in community outreach programs.
The Bantay Bata 20th Anniversary Dinner was presented by Metro Society and Lifestyle Channel, in cooperation with Pass-It-Forward and Quezon City Government, to raise money and awareness about Bantay Bata 163’s new projects including the rehabilitation of Children’s Village, where rescued kids live as they undergo healing and reformation.
Bantay Bata 163 is one of the three flagship programs of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. that caters to the Filipino children. For more information from the Philippines, go to https://www.passitforward.com/bb163; in the U.S., call 1-800-527-2820 or visit www.abscbnfoundation.org; and in Europe call +44 739 287 0779 or visit facebook.com/TFCEurope