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Naga’s Bantay Familia marks twenty-fifth yr

By Jason B. Neola

SEVERAL public and private agencies which have been partnering with the Bantay Familia will be conferred with plaque of recognition on Saturday, January 27, as the non-government entity celebrates its 25th foundation anniversary this year.

Bantay Familia is a non-government entity that operates as inter-agency network of LGUs,

NGOs, line agencies, and sectoral groups working to uphold the value of family and the dignity and integrity of every member – advocating the rights of women and children, gender equality, peace, and justice.

Atty. Leni Robredo, who had served as legal counsel of the Bantay Familia during its fledgling years, is among those who will be given recognition, along with the Naga City Council for Women, Good Shepherd Sisters, the Naga City Police Office, the Police Provincial Office, the Ford Foundation, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office.

Vice Mayor Cecilia V. De Asis, the chairperson of Bantay Familia, said that what will make this year’s celebration more significant is the fulfillment of her plan for the NGO to become an institution by way of legislation or be considered as one of those facilities being run by the city government that will fund its continuous operation.

City Councilor Gayle Abonal-Gomez has committed her readiness to draft and sponsor the ordinance with city councilors Joselito S.A. del Rosario, Ramon Melvin Buenafe, Ghiel Rosales, Jose Rañola, and Jefson Felix, ex-officio councilor and SK Federation president, as co-sponsors.

Scores of recognitions had been conferred with the Bantay Familia for its good community approaches as it advances its advocacy to resolve the incidents of abuses to women and children.

In previous interview, De Asis encourages male individuals who became victims of physical abuse, or any form of maltreatment or molestations, to report their situation to the Bantay Familia.

She related about incidents of suicide by men who were experiencing domestic violence and depression.

“The bad situation happens among men who choose to be silent and have decided to keep just within themselves the burden so as not to appear that they are undergoing negative life experiences, yet still they become depressed and may die by suicide,” a Bantay Familia social worker said.

The social worker said, however, that most cases of suicides involved young individuals who had family conflicts and difficulties with relationship.

De Asis regarded the Bantay Familia’s Lalaki Laban sa Karahasan (LLK), a community-based groups of reformed husbands and fathers who were involved in committing domestic violence, as partners in spearheading in their respective areas the campaign against any form of abuse in the family.

“The Bantay Familia has instilled in the minds of every LLK member that aside from their wives, fathers or husbands also play key roles in building a happy and peaceful family,” De Asis said.

Another intervention is the Katatagan Kontra Droga sa Komunidad (KKDK), also a community-based group which, along with the Bantay Familia volunteers, conduct counselling not only to the drug surrenderees but to their family members as well.

De Asis cited a situation wherein the Bantay Familia sent to rehabilitation center a doping mother who was reportedly inflicting physical harm on her husband and children. “It was through the KKDK that the mother’s habitual taking of illegal drugs was thoroughly and expeditiously acted upon,” she said.

“Then we have the Kahobenan Kontra sa Karahasan (KKK), a group of young volunteers who conduct peer counselling to youngsters who fell prey to emotional and sexual abuse or molestations,” she said.

The KKK members are joined by psychology and social work students from different colleges and universities in the cities of Naga and Legazpi to help address the issues that confront the youths.

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