Phl entry wins global award

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - SAGIP (Saklolo At Gabay Ng Ina At Pamilya), a Muntinlupa non-government organization that cares for abused women and children, was one of six winners of the prestigious Service Recognition Award  presented before over 1,600 delegates from more than 60 countries at the 62nd Zonta International Convention in Orlando, Florida, recently.

It was a distinct honor for SAGIP, the flagship project of the Zonta Club of Muntinlupa and Environs (ZCME), as the 24/7 crisis response center was the only Asian entry among 12 finalists chosen from 99 service platforms submitted by 76 Zonta clubs all over the world for the award. A committee made up of seven representatives from different countries selected the six winners on the basis of social impact. The committee was headed by Zonta International Service Recognition Award chair Elba Pereyra de Gomensoro of Uruguay. SAGIP ranked third overall after the medical outreach program in Ibadan, Nigeria, and the center for women victims of domestic violence in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The other winners were from Hamburg, Germany, Brisbane and Adelaide, Australia.

Zonta is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women through service and advocacy.  Some 40 Philippine delegates, including vice-chair of Zonta international service committee Dandy Gomez and co-chair of Zonta international membership committee (Asia region) Virma Vergel de Dios, attended the Orlando convention.  Receiving the award for SAGIP were ZCME president Glo Garcia, incoming ZCME president Odette Wallace and SAGIP president Menchu Genato Henson.

SAGIP was established in 1998 as a joint undertaking of ZCME and the Muntinlupa mayor’s office to address the immediate safety and healing needs of abuse victims through programs and services. Over 6,500 victims have been cared for by SAGIP since its inception. SAGIP’s crisis response center provides 24-hour hotlines, emergency shelter, crisis management, medical attention, legal assistance, counseling, therapy, referrals and other forms of psycho-social intervention. It is also active in implementing advocacy initiatives in communities and schools to prevent violence against women and children. Seminars are conducted weekly in barangays in Muntinlupa and nearby towns and cities to make communities aware of SAGIP’s services.

SAGIP has also teamed with Muntinlupa barangay officials to set up “help desks” for quick response to incidents of abuse. Volunteer watch groups have been organized, trained and mobilized to monitor and address violence cases and rescue abuse victims in barangays. In close coordination with the Department of Education in Muntinlupa, SAGIP launched the “Gabay Bata Program” in 2004 to prevent and protect children from abuse. SAGIP regularly conducts capability-training sessions for school guidance counselors and has organized “structures of care” in Muntinlupa’s public schools to assist students who are victims of violence. To support the campaign against violence and abuse, SAGIP is active in media through posters and billboards and the dissemination of printed advocacy materials like komiks and briefers in schools and communities.

“We are grateful to our generous benefactors who have made it possible for SAGIP to reach out to victims of abuse, especially the Muntinlupa mayor’s office through Mayor Jaime Fresnedi and Congressman Rodolfo Biazon,” said Henson.  “Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to do what we have done. Our work has now gone beyond caring for victims of abuse as we try to educate women and children of their rights and equip them with the tools and knowledge to resist acts of abuse.” Among SAGIP’s benefactors are ICAP, Petron, San Miguel Purefoods, PLDT, MMQ Theater and Events Group, Philippine Basketball Association, International Family Food Services, Inc. and St. James Church of the Poor Apostolate Foundation.     

SAGIP, whose chair is past Zonta International District 17 Governor Brenda Tanjutco, has a working staff of eight led by executive director Adelle de Guzman. Its office is on the second floor of the Contessa Building, Rizal Street, Poblacion, Muntinlupa City, with Tel. Nos. 846-5114 and 862-0061 to 63. SAGIP website is www.sagip.org and email address is [email protected].

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