Establish Crisis Centers Nationwide For Street Children – Legarda

August 2, 2010

“The Department of Social Welfare and Development estimates that there are around 250,000 street children in 65 cities around the country. Metro Manila alone has about 85,000 street children as of 2007, yet there is no law that addresses the special conditions and needs of street children.”
The Legarda bill recommends that the crisis centers to be established in every city or municipality will have a comprehensive program that will provide various services such as temporary shelter, emergency, medical, and feeding programs, and basic education.
“These services shall be implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in close consultation with the local government units concerned.”
Legarda said the spirit of Senate Bill No. 1438 is to assist in providing street children the means to uplift their conditions and take them out of the streets through programs that will equip them with livelihood, technical and social skills.
Legarda cited a study by Childhope, a non-government organization specifically protecting street children which revealed that about 70 percent of these street children most visible on the streets are boys with the following profile: • The working street child works from 6 to 16 hours, often in a combination of “occupations”.
• Street children usually come from large families, with six to ten children per family.
• Street children are generally malnourished and anemic, many of them physically stunted.
• Street children suffer psychologically from undue family pressures, abuses and neglect at home. Very often, they develop low self-esteem.
• Street children are prone to street fights and bullying from bigger youth, harassment from policemen, suspicion and arrest for petty crimes, abuse and torture from misguided authorities.
• Street children usually come from broken families.
• There are more boys than girls. Female children are disadvantaged because of their gender; they do more housework and are prone to sexual abuses.
• Parents of street children are preoccupied with earning a living, oftentimes engaged in irregular low-paying jobs as construction workers, vendors, and scavengers.
Legarda’s proposed measure authorizes the implementing agency to accept donations and grants from local and international organizations in order to supplement the appropriated funds for the establishment, maintenance and operation of the street children crisis centers.
“These funds will be distributed accordingly to the various crisis centers within the city or municipality. The additional funds will ensure that a higher number of street children will be provided the necessary attention and assistance.”
Legarda concluded, “National and local government agencies, along with non-government organizations, have been working hand in hand in order to uplift the situation of the Filipino street children. However, there are numerous needs that have yet to be met.”