A film on protecting children

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By Mimi Olarga

Points of View

Saturday, July 26, 2014


AMONG the hundreds of boisterous and excited young people, all towing their popcorns, sodas, hotdogs and burgers, I patiently queued and held on my place until I was ready to gain admittance.

Was there a pop singer or actor in town that early mall hour of a Saturday? Nope. My purpose was to watch the film “Paglaya sa Tanikala” of the Order of Clerics Regular of Somasca Southeast Asia Province “Mother of Orphans,” Casa Miani Somascan Fathers Foundation, and Kuwentista Productions.

But before watching the film, which was simultaneously shown in three theaters, I cannot help but strike a conversation with Debbie Dimate, the vice president for provincial operations of CINEMA (Center of Intellectual Enhancement through Multimedia Applications) and AD8 Film and Multimedia Distribution Philippines and Somascan Fr. Ronald Badillo.

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Their advocacy is simple: Through the film they are campaigning against child trafficking and child abuse. Moreover, “Paglaya sa Tanikala” features the life and works of St. Jerome Emiliani and promotes religious vocation among students.

The 80-minute film featured the life of Emiliani (portrayed by Matteo Guidicelli) who helped a young, glue-sniffing, street urchin Berto get out of the clutches of a gang of thieves.

Though the plot is simple, the interspersing scenes of the life of St. Jerome Emiliani, the universal patron of needy youth, and the father of orphans were also depicted.

The end of Emiliani or Brother Jerry may have been tragic, but the transformation of Berto into a worthy member of society, who is always ready to help the homeless youth become productive citizens, is so inspiring. No wonder the film was selected to compete in the International Catholic Film and Multimedia Festival in Poland in May 2013.

The film screening did not stop with the credits, because a forum was held after. Fr. Badillo talked about the Somascan Fathers and Casa Miani in Lubao, Pampanga and their continuous work to help the children in need. Gilber Robles cited not only several cases of the vulnerable children who were exploited, molested and killed but challenged the audience to do something to stop child trafficking and child abuse.

The clarion call has been made. The audience has heard. And as we queued again to go out of the movie house, I hope we are all ready to do our little share— of stopping child abuse and child trafficking. God bless us, and all the children of the world.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 26, 2014.

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