BAGUIO CITY—Autographed boxing gloves of Manny Pacquiao and two basketballs bearing the signature of Miami Heat’s Filipino-American coach, Erik Spoelstra, raised funds in an auction on Nov. 26 that US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. sponsored for a Baguio group fighting domestic violence.
Thomas held a “silent auction” at the US Ambassador’s Residence in Camp John Hay here, crediting its beneficiary, Stop the Abuse and Violence Against Our Women Inc. Philippines (Save Our Women), as a champion of one of his major crusades: to prevent violence against women and children.
The auction required Baguio’s prominent families to write down their bids for a variety of items, which featured three sets of Pacquiao’s gloves, as well as the boxer’s autographed shirts, and the basketballs that US embassy staff members promoted to visitors.
An assortment of framed photographs, paintings and garments brought in by Baguio-based artists and photographers like Wyg Tysman, Ric Maniquis and Cordillera weaver Narda Capuyan were also put on display. Fashion designer Paul Cabral donated gowns for the auction.
Pacquiao’s gloves were bid out at the starting price of P8,000 a pair. A T’boli jacket was sold for P1,000.
A couple in the crowd joked that they planned to bid for two pairs of the gloves which they would use to settle fights, drawing muffled giggles.
“We must not accept the fact that one in three women worldwide will be abused or assaulted in her lifetime,” Thomas said.
“Every single one of us in this room knows a woman who suffered the appalling violence,” he said.
Save Our Women, the ambassador said, has been a very vocal stalwart against this form of violence.
The group was founded by Baguio resident Patti Gallardo, who discussed her own experience with relationship violence at the start of the auction.
“Their myriad stories mirror mine,” said Gallardo. “Their daily struggles are what inspire me to be one of the voices that, hopefully, would reawaken the humaneness in people for them to understand that being a victim of relationship violence is not a crime. It is not shameful. It is not taboo,” she said.
Save Our Women has been offering seminars on Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004), peer support counseling and self-awareness discussions in what the group calls “coffee sessions” since 2007. Vincent Cabreza and Gobleth Moulic, Inquirer Northern Luzon