PLAYTIME. Children play inside a room at the Concordia Children's Services on Tuesday (Dec. 7, 2021). As part of its yearly reaching out activities, the News and Information Bureau has donated boxes of goods to the institution. (PNA photo by Joseph Razon)

MANILA – The News and Information Bureau (NIB), an attached agency of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, brought early Christmas cheers by bringing in-kind donations to abandoned children in an orphanage in Sta. Mesa, Manila on Tuesday.

A total of 25 children, aged one year to seven years, are under the direct care of the Concordia Children’s Services while 110 more are under their community-based program.

“We have two main programs, the receiving home program for the residential base, ito 'yung 25 kids namin (these are our 25 kids). In our community base, we have 110 children and youths that we support sa kanilang (in their) education. We provide financial assistance, family counseling, and other services that we can render for them,” said Rovin Conrad Bandola, a social worker who serves as a fundraising staff for Concordia.

The children welcomed the NIB staff with glee, happily interacting with the visitors, but from a distance due to the prevailing pandemic.

Bandola shared with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) how some of the children ended in the orphanage.

Iba’t-iba 'yung mga circumstances nila. For instance, si baby Dani, 'yung second to the youngest. Iniwan siya ng mother niya upon delivery sa hospital. Nagpalipat-lipat din 'yung bata sa iba’t-ibang institution until napunta sa 'min. Meron din naman kaming case ng hinulog si baby sa Manila Bay and then nakakulong ngayon si mother. Hini-hearing pa yung case (The circumstances are different. Dani, the second to the youngest, was abandoned by her mother upon delivery at the hospital. She has been to different institutions before she ended up with us. We have another case of a baby who was thrown by her mother to Manila Bay. The mother is now in jail while her case is being heard),” he said.

Some of the children were brought directly by their mothers to the institution.

Ginagawa namin ito kasi gusto rin namin ma-prevent na itong mga batang ito ay matagpuan namin sa basurahan and later on baka dun pa mawalan ng buhay (We are doing this because we do not want these children to end up in the trash where they might die later on),” Bandola said.

Concordia orphanage's paramount goal is to protect the children's welfare, as it exhausts all its efforts towards reuniting the kids with their real families. Adoption is only an option.

With Concordia’s 38 years of existence, Bandola said they were grateful to have helped abandoned children through the years, several of whom still visit and lend a hand.

He said the pandemic has affected the institution, which survives through donations and sponsorships.

“(During) this pandemic, basically the monetary donations plummeted. The in-kind donations –dahil wala nga ring mga visitors, hindi rin nakakalabas 'yung mga tao – nag-drop din 'yung in kind namin (because there are no visitors as people have not been allowed to leave their homes, our in-kind donations also dropped),” he said.

Bandola said they are thankful to organizations, such as the NIB, for reaching out and extending help.

Sobrang thankful kami sa lahat ng mga organizations na pumupunta sa Concordia. Malaking tulong lalong lalo na sa mga bata. Lagi naming tinitingnan 'yung stockroom namin. Nauubos na, so in-kind donations ay malaking-malaking tulong. (We are so thankful to all the organizations that come to us. This is a big help, especially for the children. The stock room gets depleted, so in-kind donations are very much welcome). Any amount will do,” he said.

Interested donors may get in touch with the orphanage through their website or their Facebook page.

They also invited everyone to watch the children sing Christmas carols in a virtual performance. (PNA)