Josephine Erece, savior of Sultan Kudarat’s bar girls

Do you think this finalist deserves to be the Pitong Pinoy "People's Choice" awardee?

Vote at Yahoo! PH Pitong Pinoy



undefined

Josephine Erece, a missionary and pastor with the Rivers of the Living Water church, had had enough of seeing teenagers as young as 13 working in the videoke clubs in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, so she brought them home.

It was not an easy decision to make, but Erece says her heart broke whenever she saw them.

“So I prayed about it, and it was like God said: This is what you’re going to do.”

This, despite harassment from military officers she says owns the bars. She says she was surprised when soldiers suddenly occupied the house next to hers, as if keeping an eye on her. Although there were threats of harassment, her mission to keep young girls from prostitution continues.

Getting them to come home with her was the easy part: many of the girls lived in the clubs or in dorms that were “worse than pig pens” since they lost their homes and parents to the conflict in Mindanao. “These are not like the prostitutes there in Manila who probably live better,” she says.

Finding them other ways to support themselves was an entirely different challenge, though.  According to the latest government data, around 35 percent of people in the province live in poverty, which drives girls into prostitution. “I talked to them, and they said they do it because they needed the money,” she says.

Without options, Erece knew the girls would go back to prostitution soon enough. “I saw that they wanted to change, but had no way to do it,” she tells Yahoo! Southeast Asia.
So she set up the I Care-Mission for Asia foundation and linked up with a U.S.-based charity. She has led the girls through therapy for their trauma and plans to have them learn to style hair or other skills that will help them find work.

In the meantime, she has made sure they have PhilHealth coverage, food, and shelter. Some of the girls tested positive for sexually-transmitted infections, and she has made sure they get treatment for that too.

“It would really help if they could get vocational training from TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority),” Erece says, although some of the girls she has rescued are already doing better even without skills training.

One has found a job tending an Internet café, two work at a bakery, and another helps a local tailor. They may not be glamorous jobs but they keep the girls away from sexually-transmitted infections as well as from abuse.

“I try to find jobs for them. I won’t let them move out if they don’t have jobs yet,” Erece says, knowing they might go back to the videoke clubs. Erece takes care of 10 girls, but the girls living in her house now are a second batch. “Once the girls have jobs and can support themselves, I look for others to save,” she says.

Even those that refuse to come with her get help and counseling too. Erece often invites them out to lunch to talk about why they do what they do, and to tell them that there are other ways to make money. “Many of them have lost hope, and we need to give them that hope,” she says.

Read about the other Pitong Pinoy finalists here.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China says U.S. actions in S.China Sea "irresponsible, dangerous"
    China says U.S. actions in S.China Sea "irresponsible, dangerous"

    By Sui-Lee Wee BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Friday it was "strongly dissatisfied" after a U.S. military plane flew over part of the South China Sea near where China is building artificial islands, and called on the United States to stop such action or risk causing an accident. The Chinese navy issued eight warnings to the U.S. P8-A Poseidon, the U.S. military's most advanced surveillance aircraft, when it conducted the overflights on Wednesday, according to CNN, which had a team on board …

  • 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena
    2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena

    The smell of burnt rubber and screeching tires are some of the highlights that will be seen at the most adrenaline-pumped drifting event of the year—the 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship series.   Held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, the event will be the biggest venue in the drifting competition. This is the […] The post 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • The Richest Senators In The Philippines
    The Richest Senators In The Philippines

    The 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth for politicians and public servants are now available for anyone to … The post The Richest Senators In The Philippines appeared first on iMoney.ph. …

  • PHILIPPINES PRESS-AirAsia Philippines seeks $500 mln valuation for IPO - Inquirer

    The Philippine unit of Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia Berhad is seeking a valuation of at least $500 million for its initial public offering set within the next two years, the Philippine Daily Inquirer ... …

  • Consultant, facing joblessness, claims P5.9-M lotto pot
    Consultant, facing joblessness, claims P5.9-M lotto pot

    A 39-year-old information technology consultant, whose job contract will expire this month, has claimed his share of the 6/45 Mega Lotto’s P17.8-million jackpot in its May 13 draw, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) announced yesterday. “I could not sleep for the past several days, thinking about where I could get the money to pay my children’s tuition,” the winner told PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II when he received a check for P5.9 million at the PCSO’s central …

  • Cager’s daughter: I will never drive again
    Cager’s daughter: I will never drive again

    Kim Asaytono vowed never to get behind the wheel again after she hit 14 people on Tuesday night and killed one of them. Even if she gets out of jail one day, the 22-year-old daughter of former Philippine Basketball Association player Nelson Asaytono said she no longer wants to drive. Maybe, I will still ride a car but I will never drive again,” she told The STAR in an interview in her jail cell at the Manila Police District headquarters. …

  • Disaster center to rise in Clark
    Disaster center to rise in Clark

    The private sector is set to build a disaster operations center near Clark international airport in Pampanga to strengthen the country’s preparedness against natural calamities. In his closing remarks during a two-day Earthquake Resilience Conference, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said yesterday the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) would build the center that would serve as base for immediate response to a disaster. Pangilinan, co-chair of the PDRF, said the disaster …

  • China shoos away US plane in disputed sea
    China shoos away US plane in disputed sea

    The Chinese navy warned a US surveillance plane flying over artificial islands that Beijing is creating in the disputed South China Sea to leave the area eight times, according to CNN, which was on board the flight on Wednesday. The P8-A Poseidon, the US military’s most advanced surveillance aircraft, flew at 4,500 meters at its lowest point, CNN said. The incident, along with recent Chinese warnings to Philippine military aircraft to leave areas around the Spratly archipelago in the South …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options