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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
His Values Help Address The Plight of the Youth Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Jay-R Patron, Philippines Apr 9, 2008
Culture , Environment , Human Rights   Interviews


Ray Dean Salvosa endeavored in uplifting the cause of destitute children, eventually paving the passage of the Philippines’ juvenile justice and child welfare law. This, after discovering a value-clad spirit that helped him get through the most challenging hurdle of his life.

Salvosa’s youngest brother was killed in 1990 at the age of 41, leaving behind a wife and five children. Distraught and angered, Salvosa formed a vigilante group that very same year, vowing to find his brother’s killers.

This would eventually lead to the arrest of seven individuals, two of them minors.

His resort to putting the law in his own hands resulted from the incompetent police force, which for many decades prior had functioned as military under Marcos dictatorship.

“Police were totally incompetent, partly because this was right after martial law and their training as police officers was not there. They were trained as military support for the Marcos regime. They worked from a police function, which was “To serve and protect” to a military function which was “Search and destroy”,” Salvosa said.

He could have pulled the trigger on them but instead, Salvosa opted to turn them in to the authorities.

“I was castigated by many of my friends and relatives when they found out that I was able to catch my brother’s killers but that I turned them over to the police,” he said. “They all answered me, ‘Why didn’t you have them salvaged? If I were you, I would have had them killed!’”

That was Salvosa’s original intent. His men volunteered to rub the suspects out upon their capture but he ordered them to bring the men to him first.

“I talked to each one and I got the confession without torturing,” Salvosa said. “No one admitted who did the stabbing, but eventually the fingers pointed to two people in the gang who did the actual stabbing."

“My brother was stabbed fourteen times,” he added.

“And so there came a time when I had to make a decision—turn them over or finish them off. And that’s when everything that you are, everything that made you what you are—your parents—everything you learned in school, everything you learned as a boy scout, everything comes together and becomes your moment of truth."

After this traumatic ordeal, Salvosa utilized much of his time and resources to change the way society thinks about juvenile delinquents. Ray has been appointed to serve as a member of the Juvenile Justice & Welfare Council which has been tasked to oversee the implementation of the Juvenile Justice & Child Welfare Act (RA9344) of 2006.

He has lectured extensively on juvenile justice, child abuse issues, restorative justice and community policing in various conferences and symposiums in the Philippines as well as in international conferences in Japan, the United States, Ireland, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Finland, Scotland and India. In November 2004, he was invited by UNICEF New York to participate in a forum to develop juvenile justice indicators.

Salvosa was asked to join the Manila office of Hawaii-based Consuelo Foundation upon the agreement that they would put juvenile justice on top of their agenda. Eventually he joined the foundation, which he would continue to lead to this day as executive director.

“For every child we turn away from a life of crime, we could save a daughter from being raped, another son or brother from being murdered, another family from being robbed, another life from being destroyed,” Salvosa said.

Please visit greatergood.i.ph for the interview transcript.



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Writer Profile
Jay-R Patron

Jay-R Patron, 24 years old, currently works as content provider for a multinational IT consultancy firm, under its interactive marketing department.

He was a writer for Hawaii-based Greater Good Inc., a media company behind the much-acclaimed Greater Good Radio. The show promotes social entrepreneurship and servant leadership.

Jay-r is a Journalism and Communication and Media Studies graduate from the University of Southern Queensland.
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