Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!

Ph gov’t asks the public to tweet information to help street kids

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – In line with the celebration of the National Children’s Month this November, the Philippine government through Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo calls for public attention to tweet / send information to reach out to street children. This is to safeguard them from violence, exploitation and all forms of physical, verbal or sexual abuse.
“The present state of children seen roaming on the streets is one of the main concerns of the welfare agency. We are alarmed on the increasing number of children who stay most of the time on the streets to help their families to earn a living. Most of them no longer attend school and deprived of their rights to a safe environment, education, and their most basic needs for food, health services, and safe shelter. They do not enjoy a normal childhood because of extreme poverty that can be traced in most cases to the failure of the state to provide adequate social support,” Taguiwalo said.
At present, the DSWD manages a team dedicated to respond to the needs of children and families at risk on the streets, including Sama-Bajau groups, through the @savestreetkids Twitter account. This is where the public can tweet their information. Through this account, concerned citizens can report children at risk by stating the exact location and situation of the street child or children. The reports received in this account and other social media platforms have prompted the DSWD, local government units (LGUs), other concerned agencies, and National Government Organizations (NGOs) to immediately reach out to them and remove them from harm’s way.
Currently, the Department has a Comprehensive Program for Street Children and Street Families that provides a package of services, interventions and opportunities for children and families at-risk on the streets to live productively in a safe environment. Under the comprehensive program, 5,398 street children have been given educational assistance, while some 15,557 street children have attended activity sessions in several DSWD activity centers in Metro Manila from 2011 to 2016.
In the 2015 report by a local NGO that focuses on the plight of street children, street children comprise about 1-3 percent of the children and youth population of the major cities in the country. Estimates have it that there are 30,000 children on the streets of Metro Manila and the National Capital Region. On a national scale, estimates of children living off the streets are pegged at 250,000 street children. Children as young as seven years old roam the streets to beg money from passersby or to sell candies, cigarettes and newspapers. The NGO said that about 75 percent of these same children have homes to return to, and they go home after earning money to augment their family’s small budgets.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.