ABS-CBN Ball is a huge help to spotlight Bantay Bata 163’s advocacy, says head Jing Castaneda-Velasco
ABS CBN Ball is a huge help to spotlight Bantay Bata 163 s advocacy says head Jing Castaneda Velasco 1

"All eyes are on the forthcoming ABS-CBN Ball 2019 as our beloved Kapamilya celebrities are already giving us a peek of their preparations and teasing us about what to expect on the dazzling and star-studded annual event, which will be held on September 14, through their social media accounts and media interviews.

However, more than just glitz, glamour, and good times in the celebrity bash, it’s also an immense opportunity for our favorite artists to give back and become champions of the underprivileged by supporting the causes of the Ball.

In last year’s first ABS-CBN Ball, attendees wore blue ribbons on their stylish ensembles that they proudly brandished as they sashayed on the red carpet before the event proper. Those were not actually accessories, but those symbolize their staunch support for Bantay Bata 163’s fight against child abuse.

ABS CBN Ball is a huge help to spotlight Bantay Bata 163 s advocacy says head Jing Castaneda Velasco 2

Apart from wearing those blue ribbons, the Ball also served as a venue for the celebrities and network executives to give their share in bolstering Bantay Bata 163’s programs through personal donations. 

Thus, to mark the grand event’s second year, Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com had an exclusive chat with Bantay Bata 163 program director Jing Castañeda-Velasco to know more about major developments about ABS-CBN’s socio-civic arm and its recent milestones and accomplishments.

Handling Bantay Bata for three years, Jing has made notable trailblazing improvements that truly helped in streamlining the services they offer to the public. 

Milestones and accomplishments

According to her, the Bantay Bata 163 hotline has since been upgraded from a “hands-full” to a “hands-free” system as they bade farewell to the “jurassic” system of receiving and sending calls via landline and currently adopts the digital process utilized by call center agencies. They now have a queueing system that enables them to entertain every call and to still contact those who dropped their calls, as well as the system of recording their conversations with the callers, which can be used as evidences in cases needing legal attention. 

They also developed a database wherein they can input the details of every report and profiles of the callers and monitor the demography of the cases they encountered. These improvements in the hotline turned 1-6-3 into a “helpline” and “hopeline” to the public as it serves as a go-to number for abuse, medical assistance, scholarship, and even counselling.

ABS CBN Ball is a huge help to spotlight Bantay Bata 163 s advocacy says head Jing Castaneda Velasco 3

Furthermore, Jing imparted that they have forged partnerships as well with several Local Government Units in their pursuit of reaching out to as many barangays and as many people as possible since there are only 60 Bantay Bata staffs across the country. The LGUs not only help them via financial aid, but in cascading what they’ve learned in the trainings facilitated by Bantay Bata regarding children protection and welfare. She divulged that they already trained community leaders in Makati City on spotting child abuse and parenting techniques, while taught the school principals and teachers in Valenzuela City on disaster preparedness for children. They tied up with OWWA as well in order to protect the children of Overseas Filipino Workers by providing a hotline and seminars or workshops on proper parenting. Through these partnerships, she noted that Bantay Bata has become sustainable as they gained new allies in pursuing their advocacies.

Apart from that, she also showed us the PNP Help App, which is a national emergency response system that enables users to ask assistance for police, fire, and medical in just a few clicks. Not only related government agencies are part of it, as Bantay Bata is also included to provide child protection assistance. It already had a soft launch and is only waiting for the signing of the memorandum of agreement for it to be fully functional.

ABS CBN Ball is a huge help to spotlight Bantay Bata 163 s advocacy says head Jing Castaneda Velasco 4

The program director enthused as well about having their own mascot named “Alkansaya”, which is originally the idea of the ABS-CBN Creative Communications Management. Since it signifies their coin banks distributed and situated in various establishments, it has aided them in promoting and instilling their advocacies to the communities and schools they visit, especially to the young children.

But among their milestones, it's indeed the reopening of the Children's Village in Norzagaray, Bulacan last December 2018 that is the most significant. After ceasing operations for five years, Bantay Bata was able to relaunch with the help of the funds they're able to accumulate as the beneficiary of the ABS-CBN Ball 2018.

ABS CBN Ball is a huge help to spotlight Bantay Bata 163 s advocacy says head Jing Castaneda Velasco 5

Aside from the retrofitting and repainting of the whole structure, the children's play area was also renovated by installing playmats and providing kiddie white boards and toys. They were also able to construct a chapel and a fully-equipped medical clinic inside the village and obtain cabinets and appliances for the kids. 

Along with the upgrade of the Children’s Village, Bantay Bata 163 was able to develop the Resiliency Program (or RePro) as well, in coordination with Center for Family Ministries of Ateneo De Manila University.

“It’s a program which teaches children life skills. It helps them be aware of their weaknesses and strengths and reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, and accept their weaknesses in come to terms with them and use them to recover from trauma, make themselves stronger para ‘pag lumabas sila sa Children’s Village mas kaya na nilang harapin ang mga problema nila,” Jing related.

ABS CBN Ball is a huge help to spotlight Bantay Bata 163 s advocacy says head Jing Castaneda Velasco 6

Then she added, “Inumpisahan natin ‘yon sa Children’s Village kasi siyempre karamihan ng mga bata do’n abandoned, neglected, abused so talagang problematic ‘yong situation pero we are also doing it for our scholars and then eventually, kapag na-perfect na natin ‘yong system, meron din kasing communities ‘yong ABS-CBN saka ‘yong Bantay Kalikasan, so gusto natin ‘yong mga bata in the different communities din mag-undergo ng program. Siguro a condensed version of it kasi mahaba ‘yon, just the salient points para lang basic guide for them. Mag-workshop sila para malaman lang nila ‘yung essence ng programa.”

Gratitude towards ABS-CBN Ball

With the successful relaunch of the Children’s Village, the program director has nothing but gratitude for being chosen as the beneficiary of the proceeds of last year’s ABS-CBN Ball. But more than the financial aid they received, they are more thankful for the exposure it has given them to inform people, especially the younger generation, about Bantay Bata and highlighting their advocacy as well.

ABS CBN Ball is a huge help to spotlight Bantay Bata 163 s advocacy says head Jing Castaneda Velasco 7

“What we are very, very grateful of the ABS-CBN Ball for, that’s why we’re also happy that we’ve been chosen this year because more than the money, it’s really the awareness, the advocacy that’s given a spotlight on, which is really important,” Jing related.

She continued, “Of course pera importante ‘yan kasi ‘di naman kami aandar kung walang pera. Pero ‘yong pera, marami kang pwedeng kuhanan, maraming donors. Pero ‘yong media mileage, network lang makakabigay no’n. Kaya sobra kaming grateful na for the publicity generated by the Ball last year, and again by the Ball this year, because it constantly reminds people that Bantay Bata is there and what Bantay Bata does, and what Bantay Bata has done. So it reminds people that if you need help, there’s Bantay Bata you can go to for your children. But if you also want to help, there’s Bantay Bata that can serve as your bridge if you’re looking for children who deserve to be helped, who deserve a second chance, who deserve to be given hope.”

Moreover, she also emphasized the important role of the Kapamilya stars, particularly those who have huge young fan bases, since most of the youth nowadays aren’t familiar with the organization anymore. 

“I-tweet lang nila, i-hashtag lang nila, sabihin lang nila na ‘I’m going to ABS-CBN Ball. Bantay Bata [is the] beneficiary’, malaking bagay na ‘yon,” she conveyed, sharing some of her ideas on how celebrities could help in raising the awareness of the public about Bantay Bata at least through their social media platforms.

This year, Bantay Bata 163 is chosen anew to be the beneficiary of the forthcoming ABS-CBN Ball, with all the proceeds going to its Bantay Edukasyon project.