Legarda: Basic Services, Better Opportunities will Keep Children Out of the Streets

April 11, 2018

In line with the celebration of International Day for Street Children (April 12), Senator Loren Legarda today said that providing Filipino families with basic services and better opportunities will help keep children out of the streets.

Legarda said that addressing the problem requires not only protecting street children but also ensuring that they will go back to their families who would have the means to support them. There are approximately 250,000 street children in the Philippines.

“It is not enough that we take street children out of the streets, we must ensure that they will not go back to the streets. Short term interventions are available, but to really address the problem, we must provide long term solutions,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

The Senator said that for 2018, she augmented the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the repair, rehabilitation, and construction of DSWD social welfare and activity centers nationwide.

DSWD activity centers offer tutorial services, skills training, free showers, and food, among others, to street children.

“We provided additional funding to improve DSWD centers that serve as temporary homes for the underprivileged until such time that they could get back on their feet. But while we improve these activity centers, we should also ensure that families of street children are provided with the support they need to take care of these children once they are back with them,” Legarda said.

Legarda said that aside from the cash allowance given to poorest families under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the DSWD, indigent Filipino children now have the opportunity to finish their studies since tertiary education in state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges, and state-run technical vocational institutions is already free.

Health services are also free in government hospitals even for those who are non-members of PhilHealth; while livelihood opportunities are available through various government programs such as the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) TUPAD or Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program and Government Internship Program (GIP).

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), Special Training for Employment Program (STEP), and community-based and livelihood programs under the Barangay Livelihood and Skills Training Act; while the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also has programs to help micro enterprises, particularly the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) and Small Business Corporation’s Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso.

“There is definitely no clear and decent future for these young citizens if they will remain on the streets. We must seek ways to provide them with 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,” the Senator said.

“The future of our nation lies in the hands of our youth; therefore, we must give each and every single child the chance to live a decent life and to be able to achieve his/her full potential as a person and as a citizen of this nation,” Legarda concluded.