Women And Children’s Friendly Center

PROJECT TITLE : Women And Children’s Protection Center
At the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC)
LOCATION : Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC)
B. Rodriguez St., Cebu City
PROPONENTS : A joint service project of the Zonta Clubs of Cebu I and II in cooperation with
Senator Vicente Sotto III and the Department of Health


On March 8, 1996, the Women and Children’s Protection Unit (WCPU) or the “Pink room” was founded and established at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) as a component of the Department of Health’s (DOH) flagship program “HOSPITALS AS CENTERS OF WELLNESS”, a program which was envisioned to address the increasing problem of Violence Against Women and Children in the country.  The WCPU was then housed in a 50 square meter room (nicknamed the “Pink room” because of the color of the room) which  was located close to the Emergency Room of the hospital.  By 1999, the room had become too small for the WCPU which was attending to an average of 40 patients a month.  It became apparent that to protect the women and children victims of domestic and family violence, there was a need for a one-stop crisis center where government agencies involved in providing services to these victims could be accommodated.


In 1999, in response to the request for assistance from Dr. Filomena de los Santos, then Chief of Clinics of the VSMMC and Pink Room Medical Director, the Zonta Clubs of Cebu I and II (with Zontians Tina Ebrada and Marilou Canizares respectively as Presidents) agreed to embark on an ambitious joint service project to provide a bigger and better facility for the WCPU.  VSMMC, with the approval of the DOH allocated a vacant area of approximately 500 square meters within the VSMMC complex for a new WCPU structure.  In consultation with Dr. de los Santos and her WCPU team,  preliminary plans for the structure including cost estimates were prepared by Zontian Filna Espina which became the basis for a Project Proposal.  Through Dr. Suga Sotto Yuvienco, ZC Cebu I Past President and Past Zonta Area 3 Director, the Proposal was submitted and representations were made with Senator Vicente Sotto III to allocate funds from his Countryside Development Fund (CDF) for a new building for the WCPU.

While awaiting the release of the Senator’s CDF, the two Zonta Clubs, under the 2000-2002 biennium Presidents Matt Baguia and Maria Theresa Klepp, in October 2000, held the First Z Cup Golf Tournament to raise funds for the WCPU.  By December of the same year, P8.0M from Sen. Sotto’s CDF was released to the Department of Health which undertook the bidding and construction of the building.


The WCPC Building is a 456-square meter two-storey building located between the old OPD (Out Patient Department) Building and the Child Survival Unit Building on the south side of the VCMMC compound.  It is reached from the main driveway through the wide pedestrian concourse between the Main Building and the New OPD Building.  It has a separate Women’s Protection Center (WPU) and Children’s Protection Unit (CPU) on the ground floor, a one-stop crisis center with desks for the Philippine National Police, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Justice and a Women’s NGO; a 12-bed Dormitory/Temporary Shelter, two conference rooms and administrative offices.  The CPU is equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video facilities, donated by UNICEF, to ensure the protection of the child victim.


Sometime in September 2002, the new structure was completed and its inauguration was scheduled to coincide with the Second Z Cup Golf Tournament in October 11, 2002.  With the holding of the Second Z Cup Golf Tounament, the two Cebu Zonta Clubs agreed to institutionalize the Z Cup as the fund-raising activity to ensure the sustainability of Zonta’s commitment to the WCPC.  Henceforth, the Z Cup would be held in the month of October every other year (on even years).  In addition, a number of other sources for capital (equipment) and operational funds of the Center were solicited:  P1.0M from Sen. Vicente Sotto III annually as long as he is Senator (for the 2003, this fund was released in July 2003), P1.0M a year for the next three years from the British Embassy through the WCPC Doctors’ Foundation, P300,000.00 from Rep. Raul del Mar and P100,000.00 from Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz.

From the proceeds of the Z Cup golf Tournaments, Zonta provided funds to furnish the conference rooms, the one stop crisis center, the Children’s play room and the Dormitory/ Temporary Shelter.  In addition, it provides funds to employ a House Parent for the Temporary Shelter and a Legal Consultant to provide legal advice and assistance; a monthly budget for food, medicines and other immediate needs of the Center.

After the 4th  ( and last) Z Cup Golf Tournament in 2006, substantial funding for the Center has been sourced from the City Government of Cebu and to a lesser extent, the Office of the Vice Governor of the Province of Cebu.  In addition, the two Cebu Zonta Clubs continue to provide funds and regular donations in kind to the Center.

The Clubs’ advocacy efforts are undertaken regularly,  focusing on the Center’s clients/survivors  through livelihood training,  gender sensitivity seminars,  and parenting seminars.