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Dumaguete City, Philippines Friday, February 17, 2017
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Kahupayan Center opens

The Dumaguete Kahupayan Pastoral Care and Counseling for women and girls facing difficulties, problems and abuses, will be a venue for them to unload their burdens.

            Florence Tangente, who heads the center, explains that the facility offers a variety of services for these women, especially victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking, and other forms of maltreatment.

            In an interview Wednesday, she said the center basically will be a venue for “listening”, in that many women who go to confession need more time than just receiving the sacrament to talk about their problems.

            Tangente assured that utmost confidentiality is assured to those who come to the center with their concerns.

            Already, two clients have come to the center to seek help, she said.

            One just wanted to talk about her domestic problems while the other one had sought help regarding her brother who is a drug addict.

            Being a referral center as well, Tangente said they will help facilitate the processing and referral of the client’s brother to the Fazenda de Esperanza rehabilitation center in Masbate.

            The Dumaguete Kahupayan Center is under the auspices of the Diocese of Dumaguete and is what Tangente describes as an extension or a “baby” of a similar facility in Cebu City.

            The one in Cebu City was started several years ago when Dumaguete Bishop Lito Cortes was still the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

            In an interview, Cortes graciously declined to be given all the credit for the Kahupayan Center in Cebu City, saying that while he had started it, the facility would not have succeeded without the aid of the volunteers who up to now continue to run the center.

            “Even if they say it is my brainchild, I keep saying stop calling it that way and give the credits to the Cebu leadership instead because I’m not in Cebu anymore”, he said. “It is not mine. This is God’s expression of His providence, and his care and love for us.”

            Cortes expressed joy and gratitude to Tangente and the team of volunteers of the Dumaguete Kahupayan Center for giving freely their time and effort in establishing a venue for abused women “as an expression of love” for them. 

            “I’m amazed at God’s grace and generosity again to us”, Cortes said, “and I believe this is God’s work”, he added.

            The idea of the Kahupayan Center is for a processing zone or center where issues like human trafficking and other advocacies can be addressed, the prelate explained.

            “Hupay” is a Cebuano word that means relief or ease up, and both Cortes and Tangente are hoping that the center here will live up to its name, Kahupayan, or a place for solace or relief.

            Cortes led the blessing and inauguration of the Center on Valentine’s Day, appropriately chosen because that one in Cebu was also launched on the same day but more importantly because it is a day of love and this is one way of the diocese’s expression of love.

            Volunteers at the center include psychologists, counselors, graduates of clinical pastoral education, priests and others.

            The center will also be making referrals to the appropriate government agencies and non-government organizations when necessary.*JFP

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