The American capitalist saving children in Philippines, 'one at a time'
The Lingap Center offers children shelter from human traffickers in the Philippines
May 18th, 2014
10:11 PM ET

The American capitalist saving children in Philippines, 'one at a time'

By Jason Evans

(CNN) - It was 2002 in the Philippines, and American business traveler John Drake was presented with a disgusting offer.

He says a pimp offered him a four-year-old girl for sex "for about 25 bucks".

Drake returned home to Jackson, Michigan, but couldn’t forget the heart-breaking and disturbing scenes of child exploitation.

So, aged 58, he retired from his job as senior vice president of human resources for CMS Energy and Consumers Energy, where he'd worked for 32 years, and began a new phase of his life.

Drake founded the Lingap Children's Development Center, a facility that since 2006 has provided a variety of desperately needed services for street children in Toledo City, in the central region of the Philippines.

The father of two and grandfather of six has adopted a cause similar to anti-slavery campaigner Cecila Flores-Oebanda, who was profiled in the 2013 CNN film "The Fighters," which followed her successful effort to enlist boxing legend and congressman Manny Pacquaio to take on traffickers of women and children.

One hundred children between the ages of six and 18 live at Lingap’s headquarters, protected from physical abuse or the sex trade.

Drake, nicknamed "Tito" by locals (it roughly translates to "revered uncle") doesn't claim to be a "rock star" philanthropist.

He just sees himself as a deeply religious man who’s found his calling.

The Philippines has the highest birthrate in Asia, a fertile ground for traffickers and other criminals that prey on families that cannot provide for their children.

Drake, a self-described capitalist, first came to the Philippines in 2002 as part of his role with CMS Energy, a Fortune 500 company.

As the work assignment in Toledo City grew longer, he saw more street children being severely mistreated.

Then on what he thought would be his last day in the Philippines, Drake was approached by the mayor about renovating and running a former pig slaughterhouse which was now a shelter for children called the Lingap Center, roughly translated as crisis center.

Drake was not very interested but not wanting to seem rude, he agreed to at least tour the facility.

Twenty-six children were inside the dilapidated building.

"There was nobody home, they just had a blank stare on their face, they had no hope, no future, and no place to go," Drake recalls.

He returned to the U.S. Drake had left the children, but the children had not left him.

"I would wake up in the night crying," he said.

Soon he was telling his wife Judy some horrific things he had seen in the Philippines.

"I told her about the little boy that had been doused with gasoline and put on fire, so the father could use him as a begging prop."

His wife told him he needed to do what was in his heart.

She says retiring from a well-compensated job was a big decision but she adds: "Finding something that you can be so passionate about and love doing comes around only once in a life time. It has been a win-win situation."

These days Judy accompanies her husband on some of the six or so visits he makes to the Philippines each year.

Also making the decision easier, John and Judy's two children were grown and out of the house.

Daughter Stacy now helps with fundraising while son Jeff has taken on the role of IT guy for the organization.

After about a year of pondering if his heart was really in starting this new project thousands of miles away, he couldn't stand it any longer and took action.

He began fundraising to start his organization on the other side of the world, and in 2006 the new home for street children was dedicated.

Among its residents was 13-year-old Aileen Bantolinao, one of the children at the converted slaughterhouse with the "blank stare."

Bantolinao ended up in the center after her mother died of pneumonia and her unemployed father was unable to take of her or her seven siblings.

Now she has graduated college and is heading to the U.S. for an internship in Maryland. Ultimately she wants to help run the center back in the Philippines.

"For me he's a living saint," she says of Drake. Without him, she says she would probably be in prostitution.


The foundation says in all three former street children that came through its doors have now graduated college, with 15 on their way taking university classes this year.

They’ve been saved from the nation's sex industry that, according to the Filipino government, has ensnared 100,000 children.

But "Tito" says the donors who keep his center running are the true heroes.

Fellow American Gerry DeFilippo, who decided to help the cause after hearing Drake talk at his church in Atlanta, says: "He isn't trying to save the world, or the Philippines, or even everyone in Toledo City.

"He is merely trying to change the lives of the children put in front of him, one at a time."

Topics: How to Help • Solutions • Voices

soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Moni Antoine

    God bless you and everything you do for these children.

    May 21, 2014 at 11:44 am | Reply
  2. Ronnie Cremers

    God has blessed not only the children but all the people John Drake has touched by letting us be a small part of this wonderful work.

    May 22, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  3. Daisy

    God bless you sir and thank you for what you are doing. Your labor is not in vain.

    May 23, 2014 at 6:15 am | Reply
  4. stephen tan

    I have worked with John Drake in a very minor role as auditor for a project related to the Lingap Center. The work of John in the Center, and how his work has transformed the lives of the children are truly inspiring. A few times, I have prayed sincerely for thanksgiving for the person of John and for his decision to do his good works in the Philippines.

    May 26, 2014 at 1:12 am | Reply
  5. preachingknight

    God bless you and the work that you do!

    May 27, 2014 at 11:45 am | Reply
  6. hazel

    I just want to say when is the mail order bride sham marriages going to be discussed a mail order bride destroyed my family trust and I would not give a cent to a country that encourages these con women to go out and con old men out of their life savings .The Philipoines has had all the good will it will ever get in places like New Zealand .we have seen how ungreatful they are when helped .my father died alone after his so called wife had drained his bank accounts .iof buying a wife isn't human trading then I don t know what is .

    June 3, 2014 at 1:49 am | Reply
  7. Jay Briggs

    WAKE UP AMERICA::Just below post on a woman working two minimum pay jobs to make ends meet see an article about former Corp. raider Karl Ichan taking huge position in "Dollar Store". He knows there are no steps on the scio- economic ladder out of poverty so "the poor" must go cheap places like "Dollar Store" to save a few pennies buying trash food he wouldn't feed his pigs. Great move Karl, push that money to your Wall Street banker. Goldman Sachs, maybe.

    June 15, 2014 at 10:11 am | Reply
  8. Harlan Afton

    This is the best search engine in the world

    April 18, 2017 at 4:44 am | Reply
  9. detectives privados san javier

    detectives privados villaciosa de odon

    December 11, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  10. Nick Bogosh

    Good work, I enjoyed – Gulvafslibning | Kurt Gulvmand. It was good. View my blog sometime, it all about Lake Mary, FL Real Estate.

    December 20, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  11. earn passive income in autopilot

    Earn 100 commissions of up to 900+ dollars DAILY. 90 Second Set Up – Beta Tested Proven 24-7 AUTOPILOT Income – 100 New Income System Never Before Seen. More details:

    December 26, 2020 at 9:26 am | Reply
  12. Jacqueline Udani

    I have recently started a web site, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work. "'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." by George Washington.

    January 11, 2021 at 12:16 am | Reply
  13. Donetta Maser

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery (Click on the link in the profile for more details)

    January 22, 2021 at 6:47 am | Reply
  14. Alesia Pierrott

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

    January 24, 2021 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  15. Jdbxcoemn

    viagra 100 order viagra in israel trusted store viagra generic – viagra on without insurance ’

    January 25, 2021 at 3:05 am | Reply
  16. Lbgcoemn

    buy generic viagra online australia viagra american express viagra canada by paypal – viagra for sale in liverpool ’

    January 25, 2021 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  17. Trenton Nindorf

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery (Click on the link in the profile for more details)

    January 26, 2021 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  18. Malcom Martorella

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, subscribers? Our Company provide SMM Services that means (Social Media Marketing) that is directly using social network websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote a website. High Quality Services / Our prices are the cheapest in the market, starting at $0.01 / 24/7 Support / API Support for panel leaders / Best prices

    January 27, 2021 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  19. Raleigh Bequillard

    I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I've incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it'll improve the value of my web site :).

    January 28, 2021 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  20. Allison Burlile

    Good – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs and related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task.

    January 28, 2021 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  21. Ariel Salum

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!

    February 1, 2021 at 9:05 am | Reply
  22. Buy Facebook Photo Likes

    I am impressed with this website , rattling I am a big fan .

    February 2, 2021 at 9:03 am | Reply
  23. malatya escort

    esenyurt escort bayanar bu sitede üstelik hepsi ücretsiz...

    February 4, 2021 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  24. Ahkdcoemn

    prescription prices comparison price prescription drugs cialis online pharmacy

    February 5, 2021 at 12:53 am | Reply
  25. denizli escort

    February 5, 2021 at 3:13 am | Reply
  26. iskenderun escort

    iskenderun escort bayanlarla tanışmak için bu siteyi ziyaret edebilirsiniz.

    February 5, 2021 at 4:12 am | Reply
  27. mersin escort

    esenyurt escort bayanar bu sitede üstelik hepsi ücretsiz...

    February 5, 2021 at 10:52 am | Reply
  28. Jbbvcoemn

    canada discount drug pharmacie canadienne cialis canada

    February 5, 2021 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  29. Fvfcephes

    generic viagra au viagra for cheap what drugstore can i buy viagra in hong kong

    February 5, 2021 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  30. Jbnbguell

    cheap pharmacy online canadian cialis web medical information

    February 5, 2021 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  31. Bud Larriva

    Earn 2000 a Month With Our Passive Income System – Best Autopilot income system 2021

    February 6, 2021 at 4:15 am | Reply

    iskenderun escort bayanlarla tanışmak için bu siteyi ziyaret edebilirsiniz.

    February 6, 2021 at 10:10 pm | Reply

    iskenderun escort bayanlarla tanışmak için bu siteyi ziyaret edebilirsiniz.

    February 6, 2021 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  34. iskenderun escort

    iskenderun escort bayanlarla tanışmak için bu siteyi ziyaret edebilirsiniz.

    February 7, 2021 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  35. adana escort

    iskenderun escort bayanlarla tanışmak için bu siteyi ziyaret edebilirsiniz.

    February 7, 2021 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  36. Lbsxcoemn

    my canadian pharmacy viagra no prescription fast shipping buying drugs canada

    February 8, 2021 at 8:43 am | Reply
  37. KbcxGafe

    prescription drug price comparison viagra generic canadian pharmacy canadian government approved pharmacies

    February 8, 2021 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  38. AqcfSnasiassy

    next day delivery cialis trusted online store to buy cialis canadian cialis

    February 8, 2021 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  39. Fqhhcoemn

    canadian online pharmacies prescription drugs buy generic viagra online online pharmacies uk

    February 9, 2021 at 3:33 am | Reply
  40. Nncsephes

    genuine viagra australia generic viagra mastercard viagra generic wholesale

    February 10, 2021 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  41. Ahbzcoemn

    citi simplicity card cash advance cash advance valdosta ga ezmoney loan services

    February 11, 2021 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  42. Jbbncoemn

    cialis size dose cialis in holland kaufen when does cialis go off patent

    February 12, 2021 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  43. Jbnvguell

    quick online payday loans sa cash loans logan city florida laws for online payday loans

    February 12, 2021 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  44. Theresa Bobrow

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps: Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic and start earning your income in same day. More info:

    February 13, 2021 at 3:01 am | Reply
  45. Fbsgephes

    dapoxetine with cialis cialis 25mg canada

    February 13, 2021 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  46. aralen chloroquine

    is chloroquine an antibiotic chloroquine tablets cloroquine

    February 15, 2021 at 2:02 am | Reply
  47. KvaxGafe

    india payday loan payday loan no teletrack direct lender cash advance herndon va

    February 15, 2021 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  48. Labxcoemn

    what happens if you take cialis and viagra comprar cialis en europa cialis generico comprar no brasil

    February 16, 2021 at 3:04 am | Reply
  49. hello neighbor Video game news

    great blog. great posts.

    February 16, 2021 at 7:40 am | Reply
  50. Drive-20000 Google-Organic-Visitors

    I will drive 20000 google organic visitors using targeted keywords:

    February 16, 2021 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  51. AbcfSnasiassy

    mastercard that accept viagra top of the line generac viagra overnight generic viagras

    February 17, 2021 at 10:19 am | Reply
  52. Fqbbcoemn

    american express cash loan cant pay payday loan texas payday loans bedford va

    February 17, 2021 at 10:25 am | Reply
  53. Nbnhephes

    viagra in europe order viagra australia

    February 18, 2021 at 11:26 am | Reply
  54. SocialMedia Services2021

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – Our Website:

    February 19, 2021 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  55. ILove Nardil

    If you want the best cure for social anxiety and depression, then give Nardil a try.

    February 19, 2021 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  56. Sylvie Colton

    A lot of what you point out happens to be supprisingly appropriate and that makes me ponder the reason why I hadn't looked at this with this light before. Your article truly did turn the light on for me as far as this specific topic goes. Nonetheless at this time there is one factor I am not really too cozy with and while I try to reconcile that with the actual main idea of your position, permit me see just what the rest of the visitors have to say.Nicely done.

    March 1, 2021 at 11:41 am | Reply
  57. KndnGafe

    viagra stories viagra buy how much viagra can you take

    March 2, 2021 at 1:01 am | Reply
  58. Kent Hanni

    March 4, 2021 at 9:43 am | Reply
  59. Hanh Beresford

    I really like your writing style, excellent info, regards for posting :D. "In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools." by Doris Lessing.

    March 6, 2021 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  60. Rosalie Suryanarayana

    I do accept as true with all the concepts you've introduced on your post. They are really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too brief for newbies. May just you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

    March 6, 2021 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  61. sensual massage london

    Major thankies for the article.Much thanks again. Will read on...

    March 22, 2021 at 10:13 am | Reply
  62. Abgccoemn – good thesis writing thesis chapters thesis to book thesis services

    March 23, 2021 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  63. Jvqqcoemn – dissertation writing fellowships dissertation online dissertation help reviews best dissertations

    March 24, 2021 at 5:35 am | Reply
  64. Maye Jauregui

    Think back for your own most successful item of articles. Now consider all the other approaches you could deliver this message. Can it not work like a video clip? As an Info Graphic? As a longer whitepaper or guide? Just as a more comprehensive set of shorter posts?

    March 25, 2021 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  65. Grvguell – cheapest viagra prices – viagra sample pack – buy cialis online overnight shipping – eli lilly cialis – generic cialis price

    March 26, 2021 at 5:23 am | Reply
  66. Abgccoemn – thesis umi thesis doctoral thesis database thesis consulting

    March 26, 2021 at 7:26 am | Reply
  67. Lmoppcoemn – famous essay writers who will write my essay essay writers for hire personal essay writers

    March 26, 2021 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  68. รับทำเว็บไซต์ WordPress

    968328 733012I agree with your points , wonderful post. 65272

    March 26, 2021 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  69. BrfgGafe – when should i take cialis – cialis pricing – cialis and viagra – what viagra does – cialis cost per pill

    March 30, 2021 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  70. Abgccoemn – who to write a thesis writing a doctoral thesis writing the thesis thesis in writing

    March 31, 2021 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  71. vardenafil tablets 20 mg best price

    how long do the effects of vardenafil last vardenafil levitra

    April 3, 2021 at 11:33 am | Reply
  72. buy tadalafil

    tadalafil 40 what is tadalafil

    April 3, 2021 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  73. alprostadil for sale online

    how much is alprostadil alprostadil injection

    April 4, 2021 at 2:26 am | Reply
  74. buy sildenafil from india

    20 mg sildenafil 30 tablets cost sildenafil canada preion

    April 6, 2021 at 6:22 am | Reply

    852893 871723I cant say that I completely agree, but then once more Ive never genuinely thought of it quite like that before. Thanks for giving me something to consider when Im supposed to have an empty mind whilst trying to fall asleep tonight lol.. 547284

    April 8, 2021 at 1:02 am | Reply
  76. Abgccoemn – thesis phd thesis search

    April 8, 2021 at 6:51 am | Reply
  77. sildenafil 100 mg tablets coupon

    sildenafil comparison order sildenafil online without prescription

    April 11, 2021 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  78. blog. Thanks for showing us.

    Great blog. Thanks for posting.


    April 12, 2021 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  79. zithromax pack

    zithromax treats zithromax for

    April 12, 2021 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  80. anyone order viagra from canada

    is it legal to bring viagra back to canada from mexico viagra sin receta en farmacias de canada

    April 13, 2021 at 4:34 am | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.