House Speaker Pataleon Alvarez on Monday vowed to bring nationwide the mission and vision of a foundation run by a Salesian priest that has been helping to reintegrate poor, abandoned and homeless children into the mainstream society.
The Speaker made the vow after visiting the Tuloy Foundation at the 4.5-hectare Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street Children Village inside the Elsie Gaches Village Compound in Alabang, Muntinlupa City during the holiday season.
Tuloy Foundation was established in 1993 by Fr. Marciano G. Evangelista of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
"In line with President Rodrigo Duterte's advocacy to save the youth, especially the abandoned children, from criminal elements and drugs, we want to duplicate the charity being showered by the Tuloy Foundation nationwide. We are one with Fr. Evangelista in pushing this advocacy to help and inspire abandoned children. Helping them is a commitment to build the nation," Alvarez said.
He also lauded Evangelista for committing his life to the cause of poor and abandoned children as he cited a similar program by the ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) that supports the President's national feeding program for the poor.
Aptly called "Duterte's Kitchen," the establishment has been feeding 50 to 70 hungry street children daily in Cubao, Quezon City for free.
In the meantime, Evangelista related that Alvarez was astonished to learn that a center like Tuloy Foundation has been existing to save street children through a comprehensive program of caring, healing, and teaching.
In a radio interview with veteran broadcaster and former Agham Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones over dzRH also on Monday, the Salesian priest said that Alvarez was amazed with what he saw at the center.
"Speaker Alvarez told me that he hoped that many more Tuloy Foundation centers could be established in all corners of the country because this is what President Duterte wants -- to help the poor children," he related.
"He said 'Father, this will not be the last time that we would be seeing each other. I hope that there would be more like this so that could do so much more.' I could really feel his sincerity just from the tone of his voice," Evangelista said.
The priest said that Tuloy Foundation is a non-government and non-profit organization for marginalized children registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide residential care services for the disadvantaged children and youth.
The foundation pursues the charism of St. John Bosco who dedicated himself to the care and training of poor boys in the 19th century.
Evangelista said that poor beneficiaries who want to continue their study and willing to submit to discipline are welcomed to the Tuloy Foundation.
The foundation offers complete rehabilitation for street children with a comprehensive approach.
It extends a six-phase program to ensure a gradual, balanced and systematic approach for the children's growth and development.
The Tuloy Foundation offers the following to street children: residence, food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental services, spiritual and moral formation, values formation, recreation, crisis intervention, individual therapy and counseling, sports and recreation (including an annual week-long summer camp), nature therapy, music, dancing, singing, and acting, visual arts, education program, automotive servicing, refrigeration and air-condition servicing, building wiring installation, baking science technology computer hardware servicing, basic metal arc welding (short course), culinary arts, and dressmaking (industrial sewing machine operation).
Evangelista said that when it started in 1993, the foundation has only 10 lay volunteers with 12 beneficiaries at a small room in St. John Bosco Parish Compound, Makati City.
Since its establishment, the foundation has already helped an estimated 17,000 homeless children.
At present, Tuloy Foundation has three centers which include Tuloy Oasis Nature Therapy Campsite in Borlongan, Magdalena, Laguna; Tuloy sa Don Bosco Streetchildren Village in Elsie Gaches Village Compound in Alabang; and Tuloy sa Bahay Bata Angeles City, Pampanga.
It currently has 220 residents and 800 non-residents presently benefiting in the program and some chosen beneficiaries are set to go to Switzerland next month to compete in a ballet contest.
"At the end of the month, we will be going to Switzerland as our ballet dancers will be competing there. We also have chefs and mechanics -- all graduates of our program -- in Dubai and South Korea," Evangelista said.
He also appealed for more donors to help increase the number of beneficiaries and sustain the operations of Tuloy Foundation.
Source: Philippines News Agency