Akap Bata: Caring for Filipino Children's Welfare

Akap-Bata are two Filipino words combined. Akap literally means “to embrace” and Bata means “child”. It is a movement of volunteer care-teachers (Guro-kalinga) in the community level addressing the issues and concerns of children among the poorest of the poor from a gender and rights – based perspective.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

An enduring journey with the Rotary Club of Pasay Cybercity

Read our BALITANG AKAPBATA Newsblog for September-October 2006


and the newsblog for July-August 2006


Beneficiaries showing off packs of dental care products donated by the Pasay Rotary District 3819

PASAY City’s gleaming new commercial areas stand in stark contrast to the stubborn legacy of urban blight in the pockets of poverty that persist in its inner slum dwellings. This is the development challenge that civic minded citizens such as the Rotarians take on in their commitment to live out their Four-Way Test admonitions.

Mindful of their corporate social responsibilities, the intrepid stalwarts of the Rotary Club of Psaay CyberCity District 3810 took themselves to task in seeking community development partnership with the nonprofit service provider Akap Bata.

It began with baby steps in 2003 when the Rotarians scrabbled together resources to extend medical and dental missions in the depressed sections of Maricaban, where the people have been organizing themselves in a self-help organization Kapit Bisig Association or KBA. The partnership progressed to major repairs of the KBA child care center, occasional feeding projects and gift-giving and field trips to the Star City during Christmas.

The Rotary District 3801 under the district’s new president Jojo Cipriano has recently pledged to continue its commitment to the children of Pasay City. The proposed assistance package offered includes computers, additions to the child care center, a nutrition project and health checkups. KBA President Jesus Fernandez was also named the Rotary Community Partner Organization.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Nutrition program for Manila's hungriest kids launched

If a brother or a sister be naked, if they lack their daily nourishment and one of you says to them: Go in peace, be warmed and be filled: without giving them what is necessary for the body, what good does it do? - James 2:15-16

A FEEDING program aimed to reach 5,000 severely malnourished children was launched jointly by Akap Bata and the Hapag-asa Pondo ng Pinoy on 4 March 2006 at the Estero de Magdalena in the seedy district of Tondo, Manila.

Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, celebrated the mass during the launch attended by the beneficiaries, child rights advocates and .

Ms. Gloria G. Mallillin, executive director of Akap Bata explained that the nutrition program is essential to other early childhood development projects it is currently delivering to school-age children. She notes that parents' inability to sustain its food budget forces children to forego proper food intake or quit school altogether, thus aggravating a vicious circle of poverty and missed opportunities for self-advancement.

As of the middle of May, 1,000 children were identified and received emergency food supplies.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Akap-Bata are two Filipino words combined. Akap literally means “to embrace” and Bata means “child”. It is a movement of volunteer care-teachers (Guro-kalinga) in the community level addressing the issues and concerns of children among the poorest of the poor from a gender and rights – based perspective.

Akap Bata, Inc. believes that any development initiatives in the Filipino context must be taken into consideration primarily the plight of children and women. The focus is an integrated program for children committed to total human development of communities that eventually will lead to social transformation of society where values of justice and peace and the integrity of creation reign.

In this way, Akap-Bata strikes at the heart of Filipinos who love their children so much that at times children become heart of their family life and society. In doing so, we must empower their families and the communities where they belong so it will become child friendly. They will be moved to work for social change in much larger scale. In this manner, the children have become subjects of change but also become effective instruments of development and change.

Akap Bata is essentially:

Rights–based, that is all children, especially the poor, have the basic human right to attain her/his potential as a human being. Thus, all efforts must be given to address the issues that prevent their growth, including systems and structures that hinder their full development.

Gender–Based, that is all children, regardless of gender must have equal opportunity to attain their full potential. However, in the context of the Philippine society, we have preferential option for the girl-child and women

Development–oriented, in the sense that, structures that hinder the growth of children, women and their communities must be addressed by our projects. It is imperative that Akap Bata works for the empowerment of their families, especially women, by way of increasing their income, providing Primary Health Care emphasizing education, organization and application of appropriate technologies of communities to enable them to respond to their health needs in the community.

Change–oriented, that is it drafts legislative agenda, lobbies for the enactment of Laws and policies on children, check on the implementation, and work with government agencies especially where there are gaps are observed.




Akap Bata commits itself towards:

> the development of programs for children, their families and communities
> Advocating their issues and problems and seek short term and long term solutions to their plight

Towards this end, we shall work with the church, Non- governmental organizations and worthwhile projects of Government in bringing about dreams and aspirations of children.



Children’s programs in the Philippines need improvement. For one, 64% of Filipino children do not experience or attend pre schools, daycare centers and other non formal preparatory education despite a law requiring all barangays (village) to operate at least one daycare center. Most of these children are in the rural areas and in highly depressed urban poor communities in Metro Manila and other urban centers.

Curriculum and Materials Development

Non formal curriculum and development and or procurement of educational materials is provided by network organizations such as the UNICEF, the UCCP and government funds donated to Akpa Bata. Currently, a child centered curriculum is being implemented where value formation and preparatory training is the focus.

Training – Annual teachers training to ensure development of skills, attitude and knowledge of care-teachers. The care-teacher is the core of the machinery of Akap Bata. They do not only serve as teachers, but also community leaders, facilitators, enablers and mass mobilizers. Akap Bata taps the Philippine Government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and various NGOs.

Repairs and Maintenance of Day Care Centers – Provisions for repair and finance through co sponsorships with non government organizations, churches and some government entities.

Nutrition – Feeding program for malnourished children. In Akap-Bata Day Care Centers, 67% of pupils are found to be undernourished. They are subjected to a full meal a day, 5 days a week for 3 months. Monthly weighing sessions monitor the development of the child. Medical services are conducted twice a year through co-sponsorships with non government organizations, churches and some government entities. Participation of the women in management and implementation, aside from the feeding and medical services itself, is a core aspect of this component.


Women Organizing and Capacity Building

Organizing women and develop their capacity to conceptualize, plan, manage and evaluate projects empowers them to initiate full development of their socio-economic conditions. Akap Bata’s role is to organize and prepare the women through capability building activities. The women are then linked to various agencies such as micro financing, development of community facilities such as potable water system and public toilets. The organization takes care of reaching out to our network for scholarship grants. To date, Akap Bata and the women organizations have 50 elementary scholars that linked to Catholic Parishes and Caritas – Manila. The organizations serve as the core to other programs developed in the community level.

Primary Health Care Program

Akap Bata’s Primary Health Program centers on the training of community health workers in basic preventive health skills, provision of medical and dental needs at the initial phase, the use of herbal medicines and acupressure. Basic health trainings on hygiene and nutrition ensure that the feeding program in the daycare centers is followed up in the home.

Volunteer public health professionals work hand in hand with Akap-Bata and the community organization serve as trainors and pro bono consultants. A health committee under the women organization manages the local PHC together with our Project Officer.

Akap Bata supervises the over all implementation of the project. Provision of facilities is provided to CHWs subject to the availability of funds. A Mobile Clinic, operated by the Center for Community Work and People’s Development, Inc and the Program for Urban Health Services and Development, Inc., is available to Akap Bata daycare centers and communities. Medical missions are held whenever they are requested and approved by appropriate bodies. In this light, Akap Bata works with the Program for Urban Health Service and Development, Inc., an NGO-partner working to promote preventive community based health program.

Community Development Program

The provision of water facilities, public toilets, cementing of pathwalks, cleaning of rivers and provisions for multi purpose center are some of our projects in the communities. These are largely funded by the Government. Akap Bata, together with women organizations, facilitates the conceptualization of the project. Ample trainings were conducted to ensure that the project is managed efficiently and effectively by the communities. The water project, for instance, is managed by a local water committee composed of active members of the organization. In certain areas, we set up a local water association.


Akap-Bata believes that it can not be an effective instrument in promoting children’s welfare without the help of other sectors. Thus, it seeks partnerships with the Church, non government organizations, enlightened government officials and groups and individuals with similar vision and mission. In relation with the Church, it promotes ecumenism and inter faith dialog to pursue common programs and projects.

With Non governmental organizations, Akap-Bata applies the principle of consensus building, mutual respect, independence and initiative in working for common goals and objectives. In the process of its development, Akap-Bata has organized support groups among students and youth in colleges and universities to promote further the rights and welfare of marginalized children.

International Affairs – Includes setting up and or linking with other children overseas to promote international solidarity of advocates for children, sharing of resources and technologies.


1. Established 33 operating day Care centers in the different urban poor communities in the
National Capital Region (NCR).
2. Spearheaded the formation of the Philippine Legislators’ Action Committee for Children (PLACC)
3. Installed overhead water system, water pumps in depressed communities.
4. Coordinated the building of Multi-Purpose Centers for day-care use.
5. Massive education program on child and women related topics and issues.
6. Organized nearly 3,000 women since its founding in 2003.


Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua
UCCP Secretary General

Most Rev. Deogracias Iňiguez, Jr., D.D.
Bishop of Caloocan
Vice Chairman

Bishop Gabriel Garol

Arlene Martinez

Sr. Odilia Bulayongang O.S.B.

Rev. Fr. Allan Arcebuche, O.F.M.

Pastor Perfecto Din Guianan

Fr. Anton CT Pascual
Caritas Manila Executive Director

Angelita Galban DMD
University of the Philippines College of Dentistry

Nathanile Roehl Ty
CCWPD Director

Susana Villa

Gloria dela Cruz

Helen A. Torrejas

Executive Director

Caritas Manila Compound
2002 Jesus St., Pandacan, Manila

Mobile 632 918 453-9724

Telephopne 632 5612568

E-MAIL : akapbata@yahoo.com