Press Release
February 2, 2010


Stung by the sorry plight of thousands of children risking their lives in dangerous street Senator Loren Legarda eyes for a crisis center to provide not only health and feeding programs but also basic education, temporary shelters and basic assistance.

Legarda, who is the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, cited a 1998 report from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which estimated the number of street children in the country's 65 major cities to be around 220,000.

"This is alarming because nt only the kids are exposed risks of health but also inclinations to vies such as drug or local rugby to beat hunger and indeed this is very disheartening because these children rush to the streets despite the perils," lamented Loren. A study has shown that more Filipino children meet street accidents than anywhere else in the world.

Loren said that many street children run away from DSWD officers whom they view and fear as "arresting" or "kidnapping" agents rather than persons wishing to rescue them from the streets.

"I think, we should let them (street children) know that what we are offering is a chance to live a new life, which means that they will be afforded basic life support and education so that they could be engaged in a gainful work," explained Loren.

The DSWD is the government's agency tasked "to provide assistance to local government units, non-government organizations, other national government agencies, people's organizations, and other members of civil society in effectively implementing programs, projects and services that will alleviate poverty and empower disadvantaged individuals, families and communities for an improved quality of life."

"However, if the same agency does not have clear programs for our local government units to carry out, you cannot blame the street children to think they (DSWD and NGOs) are synonymous to incarceration that must be avoided,' said Loren.

Loren said that the DSWD should be authorized to receive donations and grants from local and international organizations to augment its meager funds appropriated by the national government.

Further, she said that the proceeds will be divided among the crisis centers that will be created in the towns and cities nationwide.

"By helping street children, we would be able to make them into useful citizens and divert them from leading away from lawlessness and dependency," said Loren.

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