A former child in conflict with the law (CICL) visited the DSWD 7 Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) in Argao, Cebu.
Vic (not his real name), 26, a resident of Cebu City, now works as a seaman and currently taking steps to become a chef of a cruise ship.
His recent visit in RRCY has inspired the staff and the CICL residents who welcomed him through a short program where he shared his testimony.
In his testimony, he encouraged the CICLs to focus on their rehabilitation, to treat each other as family, and to continue learning while they are at the center.
“Good education is like a treasure, we must hunt to find the pot of gold,” said Vic as he emphasized the value of education and hard work.
As a former CICL, Vic spent four years of his youth as a gang member. It was only cut short when he was accused of committing a crime.
According to him, his first week at the RRCY was so lonely and he kept crying.
He spent four years in RRCY. While undergoing rehabilitation at the center he also helped himself recover through music.
He learned to play musical instruments like guitar and drums while at the center and became the RRCY band’s guitarist and soloist for their performances.
He said the motivation and opportunity given to him by the government through the RRCY, inspired him continue his education.
His perseverance and determination has paid off. Now, he is reaping the fruits of his labor.
He now owns a house, a car, and a motorcycle.
Vic’s story was featured in the book “A Journey with Children: Living and Working on the Streets in the Philippines” published by the United National Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
In that book, he was quoted saying, “Life is unpredictable when you are part of a gang. It felt cool, but I was wrong.”
He ended his visit in the RRCY with a song. To him, music speaks louder than words and he will continue using it to reach out to the CICLs.