LIKE many actions he has kept hidden from the public’s eye, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who was skewered by people from all over the world for his rape “joke” is actually quietly helping children victims of rape since 1994 with the help of his friends.

This is the history of Balay Dangupan, a crisis intervention center for sexually abused and physically abused children in Davao City.

This is the reason why Center Head Myrna S. Dadang, RSW believes the mayor does not in any way intend to trivialize rape as he is accused of.

“I believe it was not a serious matter gipadako lang na sa mga tao na opponents niya. Ang serious matter diha ang krimen itself mao to ang serious pero ang-ang kanang storya ni mayor sa baba lang mana niya. I know the mouth of mayor iya ra nas iyang kuan ba, ilabina ng mag-joke siya unya dili siya makatawa murag serious unya mutuo ka dayon (what he said was just hyped up by his opponents. The problem is with the way the mayor speaks. It’s his nature. Especially if he makes a joke and he will not laugh, it looks as if he is serious and you tend to believe him),” Dadang said.

But people should look beyond what the mayor says and see his actions.

Dadang said that the Balay Dangupan built on September 17, 1994 is a local facility initiated by Mayor Duterte.

“Those who accuse mayor do not know of Balay Dangupan. This was built by mayor and his friends who are just as concerned about children since 1994,” Dadang said.

One staunch supporter of Balay Dangupan is a very good friend of the mayor, Seattle-based businessman Lucho Singh, who shoulders all the educational expenses of the children since the center was built.

“Mr. Lucio Sigh a very good friend of Mayor Duterte nagahatag ug scholarship grants, naga-provide siya’g basic educational needs sa bata (He provides scholarships and basic educational needs of the children),” Dadang said.

She said that the center caters to girls 17 years old and below.

She added that the center capacity of 50 children, but they have catered minimum of 25 children and maximum of 35 children, and never has they reached 50 as they goal is to discharge children once it is proven through their psychosocial assessment and other assessments that they are ready to be discharged.

“Mostly more than 90% is sexually abused only little number ang physical abused. The number is not constant because they may come and they may go so i-discharge sila because every center of CSSSDO is just a temporary shelter,” Dadang said.

She said that as for now the youngest is 8 years old and the oldest in 17 years old, and as of now they have a total of 25 children.

Children can only stay maximum of 6 months, but others exceed.

The center has Social services section where social workers and psychologist work, the homelife section where house parents do parental service 24 hours a day by shift and t he administrative section.

Dadang said that they get regular funding from the city but there are some friends of the center who are also donating food and other needs.

Names she had mentioned included Henry Wee, and Mr Benito Mesina who donated the land for the center and many others.

Balay Dangupan just last year transferred to their own building last year in time for their 21st anniversary.

It was firs located in the PNHA, and was later transferred to the building of Lamdag sa kabataan for boys that is situated beside san pedro police station.

Dadang said that since then, the city mayor have seemed to consider the center his adapted center, but he did not only took care of the young girls but his administration also tried many centers for aged, Co Su Gian home for the aged, and child The Rehabilitation Center for Drug Dependents (RCDD) in cooperation with DSWD.