(Excerpts from my speech yesterday – August 10, 2018 during the Launch of the Voice of the Free at Astoria Plaza, Ortigas, in the presence of all agency partners and stakeholders)
It is inspiring for leaders to have role models. VF Founder “Nang” Cecil is one of my role models. I have worked with her and Visayan Forum Foundation since it was founded 27 years ago. First, as a reporter covering their news on abused children, I would interview Nang Cecil. Then as a lawyer, I handled cases for them and became a regular resource speaker for human trafficking lectures. Then as a city councilor, VF inspired me to author the creation of the inter-agency against trafficking in Bacolod, the Kasambahay and Anti-Worst Forms of Child Labor Ordinances. VF helped me in the Gender and Development (GAD) Council for 6 years. I was able to rescue 39 children victims of trafficking mostly with the help of VF. I would use their facilities in Manila, Iloilo and Bacolod for safekeeping of the children aside from other support. Until eventually, my husband, Atty. Arnel Sigue also assisted VF as NBI agent and eventually as a lawyer. We founded the Anti-Trafficking Legal Advocates Society (ATLAS) and made our advocacy against trafficking a conjugal mission.
Today, I am called again to work with VF as chairman of the board composed of distinguished men and women as we transition to Voice of The Free.
It is an honor for me to be part of VF’s journey and to meet all of you who have been partners of VF through these years just like me. Through its different programs, VF has helped 30,000 children and women in the last 27 years. Please continue to support us and join us in this journey to give a voice for those who have none.
As Thomas Watson, President of IBM says, “yesterday, we pioneered for today. Today, let us pioneer for the future.” Thank you for all your support.
Note: As inspired by Visayan Forum Foundation – the Voice of the Free (VF) Foundation’s Vision is a society where people are free, protected and empowered to explore opportunities without the risk of exploitation and slavery. Our goals are to prevent human trafficking through community watch and other strategies, to protect victims and potential victims and transform their lives through holistic interventions, promote policy and conduct solutions-based research and partner with the youth and other stakeholders to empower them against trafficking and modern slavery.
For more information, visit www.voiceofthefree.org.ph