Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Street dance to stop juvenile delinquency in Davao

Davao City’s local hip hop dance community Groove Unlimited Dance Community will pitch in to keep street children away from becoming juvenile delinquents by teaching them how to dance starting January next year.

Groove Unlimited, an umbrella organization of hip hop dancers who share their passion for dancing, as founded by Bryan Grandeza and Cristopher Nellas in 2005.

“We were tapped by the local government to teach street dancing to children from the different barangays of Davao City,” Grandeza said. Aside from being a hip hop dancer and choreographer, Grandeza is also a Muay Thai black belter and represented the country (along with his brother Steve Grandez) to the World Kickboxing Championship in Dublin, Ireland last month.

The “PLDT-Smart Smartkids ---Samahang Ayaw sa Riot 1st Street Dance Competition in Davao City” project, which was launched at Taboan, MTS in Matina Monday, will run from January next year and will culminate in a street dance competition during the Araw ng Dabaw celebration on March 16, 2010.

“This is a community response to the country’s problem on juvenile delinquency and is actually a preventive program,” PLDT-Smart Foundation Executive Director for Juvenile Rehabilitation Anthony Pangilinan said during the project launch Monday, December 14. Pangilinan said street dancing is one way to keep children on the street for a good reason.

He said the community should present an alternative to these children instead of just blaming them for becoming juveniles. It all started when PLDT Chairperson Manny Pangilinan realized the increasing number of young children on the streets.

This led to the establishment of Bahay Pag-Asa, a P40 million facility for children in conflict with the law located in Dasmarinas, Cavite. Pangilinan said this is a true picture of what the community can do if it works together, since PLDT Smart Foundation allotted only about P15 million for the project while P25 million was contributed by the local community.

Grandeza said they have committed to train children from seven barangays. Among the hip hop groups that will help train these children include Bandila Fusion, JAZ Up Danz Crew, 411, infinity, FACES, Alternative Groove, Faces of Groove and Groove Unlimited.

City Social Services Development Office head Maria Luisa Bermudo said the city is very grateful to the support being given by PLDT-Smart Foundation to provide a solution to juvenile delinquency in the city, considering the existence of Republic Act 9344 or An Act Establishing A Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and Welfare System which prohibits the imprisonment of children 15 years old and below.

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