REDWOOD SHORES, CA, March 17, 2015 – It was the tragic death of a young girl in the Philippines who was brutally beaten by her own mother in 1996 that sparked the idea of creating a helpline that will receive reports of cases of child abuse. By giving the public access to a 24-hour hotline, abuses committed against children are easily reported and verified. Thus, in 1997, ABS-CBN Foundation founder Gina Lopez started Bantay Bata 163 in Manila, Philippines as a local emergency go-to and rescue hotline operation. Eighteen years after, Bantay Bata 163 has expanded its regional branches to Cebu, Davao, Zamboanga, Bicol, Negros Oriental, Iloilo, Pangasinan, Laguna and General Santos City. It has also expanded its reach through a variety of projects that include the Children’s Village, feeding program, prevention of child trafficking and student scholarship.
Overseas, ABS-CBN Foundation International (AFI) kicked off recently the year-long 18th Year Anniversary Celebration of Bantay Bata at the famous Hollywood El Rey Theater in partnership with N91 Live through a fundraising concert attended not only by Filipino supporters but by mainly mainstream Americans. Under Managing Director Jo Ann Kyle, the appeal of Bantay Bata has reached a broader audience in the U.S. where AFI is based. The AFI Bantay Bata PSA “Fighting For Survival”, created by ABS-CBN TFC’s Pia Lopezbanos Carrion, Jeremiah Ysip, Eugene Libadia, Michael Angelo Carrion, Danny Manansala, Danie Sedilla-Cruz, and Paolo Ramos, featuring popular Filipino American mixed martial artist Mark Kenery Munoz urging viewers “to open our hearts and help children in their fight for survival” won Best Community/Public Service (PSA)-Single Spot or Campaign at the 43rd Northern California Emmy Awards in 2014.
Among the performers at the Hollywood fundraiser were Cheesa, NBC’s The Voice 2012 contestant and a protégé of Filipina singing star Charice Pempengco, the sons of superstar American R&B icon Brian McKnight – BJ and Niko McKnight – and BMG Records/Chrysallis recording artist–songwriter Nikki Paige. Philippine Congressman and world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao signed memorabilias that were auctioned off to help raise funds.
Several events are currently being organized by AFI’s partners, volunteers and Ambassadors to pay tribute to Bantay Bata’s 18 years of child rescue and protection. The proceeds of the various events will fund 18 scholars under the Bantay Edukasyon program and support medical patients under Bantay Kalusugan.
Over the years, AFI has awakened the awareness of Global Filipinos on the importance of collectively working together to protect future generations. For those who want to be part of this cause, please email [email protected] or call 1800-527-2820.