Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Virginia N. Orogo gave a stern warning to parents and guardians that they are liable for neglecting their children, and are answerable to child abuse charges, especially those who are using their children to earn money on the streets.
Acknowledging the prevalence of street children especially in major cities around the country, the Secretary reiterated that parents who allow their children to loiter on the streets especially on major thoroughfares to ask for alms or sell items is a form of child abuse and punishable by law.
Sec. Orogo said, “Some parents have forgotten that child neglect is child abuse, considered as a crime under Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination. Parents are responsible for taking care and providing for their children’s needs. No child should be on the streets, exposed to danger at their young age.”
As stipulated in the law, acts of neglect, abuse, cruelty or exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development is punishable by the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period. The victims of the said acts shall be entrusted to the care of the DSWD.
“To address this, the Department will soon launch the ‘Silungan sa Barangay’, a project for street children and the homeless families. It gives a temporary home and serves as a learning center, and livelihood center for children and families at risk on the streets. The programs to be provided in the facility are those already existing but are currently not accessed by the street children and their families. It is about time we look at this in the perspective of children, how they are adversely affected by their exposure on the streets,” Sec. Orogo said.
Silungan sa Barangay also provides a venue for the convergence of holistic services of various groups for street children and their homeless families.
Moreover, Sec. Orogo shared, “Side by side with the Silungan sa Barangay is the bigger advocacy project of the Department which is th #HelptheHomelessPH campaign.”
DSWD launched the #HelptheHomelessPH campaign last year with the objective of raising public awareness on the need to collectively respond to the needs of the sector. This is also the Department’s call to action for all government agencies, civil society organizations, private corporations, and the general public to work together and converge all resources to find the appropriate strategies to help respond to the issue of homelessness.
“The issue of homeless is indeed big, and the DSWD cannot do it alone. We reiterate our call to all sectors in society to lend a hand, contribute their available resources and work with us in finding the right help for homeless Filipinos, especially the street children. We can begin by being our partners in the Silungan sa Barangay project implementation or help us raise public awareness by popularizing the #HelptheHomelessPH campaign,” Sec. Orogo said. ###