Press Release
January 25, 2010


Sen. Loren Legarda today urged Congress to enact the establishment of a Crisis Center for the country's street children, pushing for Senate Bill 230 to be discussed in the last days of the session in the Senate. Legarda stressed that "as the population balloons and social demographics among families change, it is the government's moral obligation to safeguard the welfare of Filipino children; especially those getting less or no care at all."

She lamented the findings of UNICEF in 2009 that there are now a quarter of a million living, working and sleeping on the streets of key cities in the Philippines. Legarda cited that these children are especially exposed to risks to their health, well-being and lives.

Currently, children are protected by existing laws such as RA-7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act), RA-9231 (the act Prohibiting Employment of Children in Hazardous Areas); and PD-603 (Child and Youth Welfare Code). But there is no specific law that addresses the special conditions and needs of the street children.

"250,000 children living on the streets is a very bad indication of governance. We must as a country collectively address this; not only relying on the services of the DSWD or donations of foreign governments and NGOs. We must create a stable, legal framework to eradicate the threats to the lives of children living on the streets," Legarda added.

According to the Council for the Welfare of Children, 75 percent of street children stay on the street most of the time; 20 percent practically live on the streets alone or with their family and/or friends; and the remaining 5 percent are street children who have experienced abuse or have been abandoned and are engaged in illegal activities.

"It is about time every city or municipality has comprehensive programs in providing temporary shelter, emergency medical and feeding programs and basic education. This measure will provide 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 so later on they can live better, more decent lives." Legarda concluded.

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