By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Oct. 9, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO – In honor of October being hailed as Filipino American History Month, Filipino community leader Rudy Asercion is celebrating the occasion by launching his Safe Haven Program as a national campaign.
“I couldn’t think of anything better to promote the Philippines than offering safe haven to our children to make sure they are free from bullying, from crimes, and from violence,” Asercion said.
The program was intially started in 2011 through the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center.
Students at West Bay would post yellow stickers in stores and establishments that agree to provide a haven for any child who feels scared or threatened in San Francisco’s toughest neighborhoods.
“Any kid that is being bullied or is afraid of being followed or they’re afraid because they are facing harm, they can look for the yellow sign and the proprietor or the people who own the business will shelter them and call their parents to pick them up or call the police. It’s a very simple program and we’re going to launch it throughout the United States,” Asercion said.
He added that the Safe Haven Program has historical roots to the Philippines and the survivors of the Holocaust.
“Before the war the Philippines was the only country in the whole world that welcomed the 1,300 Jews to the Philippines and offered a safe haven. By doing that we were able to rescue these 1,300 Jews and save them from the Holocaust. So we felt it appropriate to promote the safe haven because it is the origin. The Philippines was the original safe haven.”
Asercion marked the start of the national campaign by establishing a partnership with the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco.
“Children essentially are the future of our country, or any country for that matter, and therefore children deserve to be treated accordingly with the right treatment in accordance to their dignity,” Philippine Consul General of San Francisco Henry Bensurto Jr. said.
The Safe Haven Program works with the San Francisco Police Department and has partnerships with various stores and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
The yellow stickers are found on the windows of restaurants, dry cleaners, and even law offices.
You can contact Rommel Conclara at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Follow him on Twitter at @rommelconclara.
“Safe Haven Program” should be statewide.