DSWD Sec. Virginia Orogo
Orogo 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.
"Some parents have forgotten that child neglect is child abuse, considered as a crime under Republic Act 7610 also known as 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," Orogo said.
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.
DSWD will soon launch the 'Silungan sa Barangay', a project for street children and the homeless families as one way of addressing the problem.
The project will serve as a temporary home, learning center, and livelihood center for children and families that will be saved from the streets.
Silungan sa Barangay will also provide a venue for the convergence of holistic services of various groups for street children and their homeless families.
DSWD also launched the HelptheHomelessPH campaign last year aimed at raising public awareness on the need to collectively respond to the needs of the sector.
The advocacy campaign is the DSWD's way of calling to action 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 homelessness 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," Orogo said. (PIA-NCR with reports from DSWD)