Helping erring children mend their ways instead of inflicting the harshest punishment, especially hauling them to jail for their transgressions, is what SPO4 Bill Felisan stands for.
And in MMK “Youth Center,” Bill (Xian Lim), he personifies a redeemer who saves lost kids find their path. This is because he too once treaded the wrong way—a street kid who had been constantly apprehended for petty crimes yet found a silver lining in a rehabilitation facility for children like him.
Xian would best personify Bill in the inspiring tale, as his splendid acting performance gave people a clear idea of the police officer’s noble and praiseworthy zeal through the episode.
On “Youth Center,” when Bill leads operations turning in child criminals, he takes it as his responsibility to rehabilitate the kid offenders and not let them share jail cells with adults. This is in his belief that child criminals can still change themselves for the better, if given the chance.
As a child, getting into brushes with the law was a norm, given the abject poverty he experienced. His parents were of no help as they let him roam the streets on his own, while they make a living or commit their own vices. Law enforcers had been his “enemies” with the abuse he would experience under their custody. But when he thought all was lost, the city started an experimental project called Community Scouts Youth Guidance Center, aimed at minors in conflict with the law.
Under the Community Scouts’ “custody,” Bill would not get charged for his offenses but instead required to go to school. In 1981, Bill would become among the first to enter the program. He would realize the benefits of being under rehabilitation—aside from free shelter, they are trained to become helpful members of society.
After knowing that they could go to school, Bill would take his younger brothers to the center as well. And, he would begin at the level he last entered school, Grade 5, and went on until his sophomore year, wherein a placement exam accelerated him straight to college as a scholar. And when he finished college, his life as a lawless child had come full circle—from the years running away from cops, he has now become a policeman.
And when he encounters cases involving children, “Kuya Bill” would always bring them to the center to give back to kids like him who had gone astray but deserve a second chance at life.
Bill would see fulfillment of his advocacy as children under the Community Scouts program had indeed gone the right path—particularly one he had rescued in an operation against a child sex den and brought to the center. The abused child had since become a seminarian about to enter the priesthood.
And now still protecting the law and defender the rights of the child to a better future in the many years he served in the police force, Bill had since become a motivational speaker on the life-changing effects of such diversion programs, like the Community Scouts Youth Guidance Center, which is now UN-funded. He had since become an award-winning advocate of diversion as a way to achieve juvenile justice.
MMK “Youth Center” truly did justice to Bill’s inspiring tale, as it clearly depicted the woes he encountered as a child leading to his deliverance. Direk Frasco Mortiz created a light yet effective piece that highlighted Bill’s uplifting journey, and brought in awe-inspiring creative elements, such as impressive camera work and exceptional storytelling to touch viewers.
Xian was outstanding as well in his portrayal as he gave an effectual, moving performance, making viewers comprehend and understand his character’s purpose and conviction.