Tatay Baste is back, vows to continue advocacy to help kids
Supt. Michael Bastes cuts a tough figure in his police uniform. But to street and urban poor children, he is their Tatay Baste.
At a feeding program in Barangay Day-as yesterday, Nhico John Sasan, 4, proudly showed his share of biscuits and lollipops to Cebu Daily News.
“Busog na ko. Lami kaayo ang lugaw. Salamat, Tay Baste (I’m full. The rice porridge was very delicious. Thank you, Tay Baste),” said Sasan.
It was the first feeding program conducted by Bastes and his team of civilian police assets known as trackers since his return to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) as chief of the City Intelligence Branch (CIB) in April this year.
He has vowed to resume his advocacy to help street and urban poor children, which started when he was still the police chief of Cebu City Police Station 2.
Back then, he used to gather the street children, have them take a bath and feed them.
His efforts were cut short when he was relieved from his post in 2011 after the controversial death of a robbery suspect under his custody.
Bastes was transferred to the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO), then to Toledo City Police in Cebu Province, then back to MCPO again to serve as the Investigation and Detection Management Branch (IDMB) chief.
While at the MCPO, Bastes would gather some children and ask them to go jogging with him every Tuesdays and Thursdays. His efforts did not go unnoticed as some Good Samaritans donated shoes for the children.
In April this year, he was reassigned back to the CCPO. He vowed to continue his advocacy and hold a feeding program weekly.
“Karon ato gihapon na ipadayon (We will continue what we started),” Bastes told Cebu Daily News.
At least 200 children, including some street children, benefited from the feeding program in Barangay Day-as yesterday.
A sudden downpour yesterday did not dampen the spirits of the volunteers as they scooped out rice porridge and distributed candies and biscuits to the kids who queued for their turn at the basketball area covered by barangay tents.
“I have already coordinated with the residents in the area since most of them I have already known before when I was a patrolman. They have been a great help in apprehending criminals by providing me tips and information,” Bastes said.
The next feeding program would be held in Barangay Guadalupe, he said.
“Malipay na man sad ko’s mga bata nga makakita nga makatabang ko labi sa mga street children ug sa mga bata nga nagpuyo sa squatters area (Seeing the kids, especially those kids living on the streets and in slum areas, makes me happy),” he said.
Bastes said he did not mind spending his own money.
“Mas maayo jud nga mahimamat nato og maamigo ning mga bataa. Maayo unta nga dili sila maparehas sa uban nga pasagdaan ba, mahimo na hinuong buluyagon (It’s always better to meet and befriend these kids for them not to become criminals),” said Bastes.
Most street children, usually seen with a pack of solvent in one hand, pester tourists and locals alike for money or bread. Some are accused of being thieves.
To ensure that the children are safe and guided properly, Bastes said he planned to ask the Cebu City government to allow the use of the old police station in Fuente Osmeña as temporary shelter for the children.
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