Iloilo City eyes halfway house for street kids

Published April 4, 2018, 11:49 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Philippine News Agency

The city government here is eyeing the establishment of a halfway house for children-in-conflict-with-the-law (CICL) and other street children.

Gene Garingalao, head of the Iloilo City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), on Tuesday said Mayor Jose Espinosa III is eyeing the construction of a halfway home for street children to serve as a processing center and “Balay Pag-Asa” as rehabilitation center for CICL.

She added that a team from the National Juvenile Justice Welfare Council visited this city last week following the request of this local government unit for a PHP5-million fund for the construction of the “Balay Pag-Asa”.

Espinosa on Monday announced before department and division heads of the city government his plan to build the facilities.

In a follow up interview, he said that he has already instructed the CSWDO to identify a barangay where said facilities would be constructed.

Initially he wanted to have them in Mandurriao district, in a lot owned by the National Housing Authority (NHA).
Espinosa added that he would be sending an emissary to the NHA if the latter could donate a portion of its 4,000 square meter lot to be used for the halfway house and the rehabilitation center.

The mayor considered the establishment of the facilities as he observed that there are a lot of street children in the city.

He thought that they were Badjaos but when verified he found out that they were street children of the city.

“Street children can stay overnight in the halfway house. They will be treated well, given food and some lectures. They can leave in the morning if they want,” he said. “Little by little they can assimilate and appreciate government services.”

On the other hand, the rehabilitation center will be similar to the city government’s “Dalayunan: Home for the Boys”. “It will serve as venue for group dynamic sessions where they will be provided with proper guidance,” the mayor said.

Dalayunan used to be managed by a non-government organization but was later transferred to the city government. It caters to CICL 15-17 years old who are facing cases.

Inside the facility, they are provided with psycho-social programs, informal class in partnership with the Department of Education, free medical checkup from the City Health Office (CHO) and legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

CSWDO has validated 300 street children in Iloilo City in 2016 and 155 CICL.

A comprehensive package is extended to street children and street families in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

From 2016 to 2017, educational assistance was provided to 74 high school and elementary pupils; hot meal for 33 days to 300 street children and skills training and livelihood assistance to 74 street families.