WASHINGTON DC — Jackielyn Belangel Brewster was only 32 years old and a mother of two young boys. Bellamy Gamboa was only 39 and had four children.
Lives both ended tragically from violence. Police said, killed her husband and then herself just this past August. Relatives and friends have said she was a victim of domestic abuse.
Gamboa was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend early July. He is now facing a murder trial, which is scheduled to start on December 20.
Recent cases like these are on the minds of Philippine embassy officials when they announced the launch of a help desk for those victims of violence seeking assistance.
The initiative was launched during a public forum held in Washington DC as part of the 18-day campaign to end violence against women, which is observed annually from November 25th to December 12th.
Arnedo Valera, who has represented many victims of abuse and violence raised a question during the forum that the embassy officials admitted still needs to be addressed: Can victims of violence find shelter at the Philippine embassy?
The short answer is not yet.
“We actually seek suggestions from our community because that is another need that we have to address, to know how many or how much resources are out there. What are available resources and where do we refer for now our Filipino nationals who are victims and survivors of violence against women and other related crimes.”
Meanwhile, if you are a victim of violence, the Philippine embassy has two phone numbers you can call, the weekday workday number, and a 24-hour emergency hotline: 202-378-2767.