From building the structure to building dreams.
This is what Bantay Bata 163 envisions as they’re chosen once again to be the beneficiary of the forthcoming ABS-CBN Ball 2019 that will be held on September 14, according to program director Jing Castañeda-Velasco.
It can be recalled that in the inception of the annual star-studded event last year, the millions-worth of proceeds all went to the rehabilitation of the Children’s Village in Norzagaray, Bulacan, which was successfully relaunched in December 2018. And this year, the focus will be on the Bantay Edukasyon program as they aim to continuously grant scholarships to the less fortunate children, especially to those who are currently staying at the newly opened residential facility, and to implement their other educational projects as well.
In Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com’s exclusive interview with the Bantay Bata chief, she relayed that out of the pledges that will be accumulated from this year’s shindig, they aim to use it for the construction of a productivity training center inside the Children’s Village, in a planned tie up with TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority).
These kids sheltered by Bantay Bata 16 would learn and develop various technical-vocational skills, such as baking, haircutting, manicuring and pedicuring, bartending, and cosmetology, for these can be their bread and butter once the time comes that they have to leave the village and be on their own. The same is also done in DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and is dubbed Preparation For Independent Living.
Aside from that, Jing also divulged that they also want the kids to discover and enhance their skills in art, music, and sports through organizing programs on each area and coming up with more digital workshops with the help of individuals who are willing to lend their time, talent, and treasure. She believes that by doing so, they’re not only providing them the therapy they needed, but the discipline will also be instilled in every child.
Alongside this new project, she assured that Bantay Edukasyon’s foremost advocacy of changing and uplifting lives through education will still be prioritized.
“Bukod do’n, ‘yong scholarship nila. ‘Yong mga nasa village ‘di namin na-budgetan kasi ‘yong budget namin para sa 400 scholars lang. So no’ng binuksan siya no’ng December, wala sila sa budget namin. So ‘yon, para rin sa pag-aaral nila,” she stated.
Being a Bantay Edukasyon scholar
The program director then gave a glimpse about being a scholar of ABS-CBN Foundation.
“Kapag inumpisahan ka kasing maging scholar, for life ka na so ‘yong ibang scholars natin ngayon who used to stay at the Children’s Village before when it was open, kahit lumabas sila, pinaaral pa rin natin sila. So ganon din sana [ngayon],” she said.
Being their scholar is actually easy for they will not pressure you to be on top of the class. You only need to maintain good grades. “Of course may mga requirements din naman like grades, at least 80 ‘yong grade mo. ‘Di naman kailangang A student ka pero ‘wag din namang bagsak. [Kundi], ibigay mo na lang ‘yong tulong do’n sa mga taong tintulungan din ‘yong sarili nila.”
Jing also emphasized that unlike other charitable institutions, it’s not only Bantay Bata’s mandate to help, protect, and save children, but to empower them as well.
“Iba kasi ‘yong tulong na dole out. Tayo, ‘di tayo dole out. ‘Di lang tayo nagbibigay ng pera, but we empower them and change their values and build their character [dahil] ‘yon talaga magtatagal. ‘Yong dole out, mauubos ‘yong pera mo.”
She then recounted that this year, they took the beneficiaries on a fieldtrip in Singapore Airlines, which is one of their partners, as part of the Bantay Edukasyon program. Through that activity, they’re able to expand the world of the kids as they witnessed how professionals work, which motivated and empowered them.
A brainchild of the late ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. Chairperson Gina Lopez, Bantay Edukasyon was established in 1998. In the past 21 years, it has not only given the abused, neglected, and exploited children they rescued a second chance in life, but also the disadvantaged children a brighter future, through bestowing them proper education with help from donors and sponsors.
This expanded the service that Bantay Bata could offer to the children they rescued as the support they’ve been receiving from generous donors and sponsors enabled them to send the kids to school to get proper integration.
“Kasi ‘yong mga bata ‘pag ni-rescue natin at dinala natin sa village, minsan, lalo na kapag ‘yong parents niya ang perpetrator, wala nang magpapaaral. So kailangan sagutin mo ‘yong pag-aaral niya. Kaya nagkaroon tayo ng gano’ng service para the child can continue to study even if he’s no longer with his family. Kasi there are times that you have to remove them from their family,” Jing shared.
Through Bantay Edukasyon, the foundation has already awarded scholarships to over 6,000 children in the past two decades and has produced nearly 1,000 graduates, in which many graduated with honors and are now promising professionals.
Among them are Lovel Marvic Mella, who graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Teacher Education at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Calauan, Laguna in 2017, and Jan Paolo Moreno, who finished his tertiary education at the University of the Philippines in 2016. Both were grateful for the efforts of the foundation in helping achieve their ambition of accomplishing their studies through financial and moral aid.
According to an article posted on the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya portal, Bantay Edukasyon recognized 384 scholars nationwide for school year 2018-2019.