The Preda Board of Trustees elected Francis B. Bermido Jr as president of the Preda Foundation on 21 December 2020.
He was nominated by Fr Shay Cullen, founder of the Preda Foundation, and unanimously elected by members of the Board who were present during the annual meeting. His tenure as president is for six years.
The work of the Preda Foundation has expanded greatly in the past twenty years much of it due to the dedicated work of Francis Bermido Jr, who has served in various positions and steadily rising to the position of President.
Mr Bermido started his work at the Preda Foundation in 2001 as a researcher in its Research, Advocacy, Information and Networking (RAIN) Department. His research into the history of Preda helped Fr Shay in writing the book ‘Passion and Power.’ He was then assigned as Information Officer.
He headed the Special Human Rights Education (SHARE) Project of Preda from 2004 to 2006. In that assignment, he educated hundreds of duty-bearers particularly parents, village officials, teachers and police as to the rights of children and inspired them to take affirmative action.
The result has been many more cases of child abuse and trafficking reported to Preda and government social workers that were then rescued and healed by the Preda homes for abused children. Mr Bermido is an affective organiser and lively public speaker.
From 2006 to 2012, Mr Bermido headed Preda’s Bukangliwayway Center for Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) and Children-at-Risk (CAR) through the Bukangliwayway Center, now located in Nagbayan, Castillejos, Zambales.
The Preda Foundation has rescued hundreds of boys from sub-human conditions in jails and police detention centres, and until recently from sub-standard Bahay Pag-asa run by local governments.
Mr Bermido has trained the staff – social workers and facilitators/house parents to practice positive discipline and a programme based on affirmation, understanding, respect and encouragement and Emotional Release Therapy.
This has significantly impacted the lives of hundreds of children that went through the human development training and values formation program at the Bukangliwayway Center.
He helped research the alleged torture of children in government detention centres with the Commission on Human Rights. He is an experienced and active counsellor and advisor to the children at the Preda Home for Boys and Girls.
In 2012, Mr Bermido was appointed by the Board of Trustees as Executive Director, a position he held until 2019. He was Preda’s vice president before his election as president.
Mr Bermido has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in management, both from the University of the Philippines. He also has a post-graduate diploma in Children, Youth and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands. He is also a licensed professional teacher (LPT).
He is Preda’s permanent representative to the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC), both in the national and regional level. He was instrumental in the expansion of the Preda Foundation’s services to children during the past twenty-years when Preda constructed and inaugurated new homes for children in Nagbayan, Castillejos and at Gala, Sacatihan, Subic, Zambales.
Besides this, he oversaw the management of the legal services of Preda to abused children which became more successful winning many convictions. He also developed the services to reach more needy children detained in jails and succeeded in the release of many for transfer to the homes of boys and he established the vocational training for the boy’s home.
He successfully implemented new educational assistance programmes for needy students. He has participated in disaster relief work operations in the field.
His work includes general administration of Preda Foundation and its services to children in need. His work contributed to the reputation of Preda Foundation which received four Nobel Peace Prizes nominations in the past 20 years since 2001, the most recent being in 2017.
The Preda Foundation was also awarded the prestigious Shalom Peace Prize and the Martin Buber Plaque in 2017.