By Genalyn Kabiling
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is planning to establish barangay shelters for street children amid the government’s crackdown on tambays including minors loitering the streets.
Acting Social Welfare Secretary Virginia Orogo said they intend to look for vacant government lots or facility to provide refuge for street kids under the proposed “Silungan ng Barangay.”
“Sa bawat Barangay meron po kaming bago ngayong ilulunsad ng programa. Ito iyong tinatawag naming ‘Silungan sa Barangay’. Ito po ay bagong programa kung saan kakailanganin namin ang tulong ng bawat mamamayan sa Barangay [In every barangay, we will launch a program called ‘shelter in barangays.’ This is a new program where we need the help of each member of the community],” she said during a Palace press briefing.
“Nangyayari po ngayong marami na po ang nakatira sa kalsada na pamilya at marami na rin pong street children na nandidiyan ngayon sa kalsada so, ito po iyong inaayos namin sa kasalukuyan para po masagot natin iyong tinatawag nating mga mahihirap na nasa mga lansangan [There are many families are now living in the streets, there are many street children so we are organizing this to address the plight of those dwelling in the streets],” she added.
Orogo said she has started to coordinate with Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año on the possible locations of the proposed village shelters.
The DSWD dialogue with other project partners such as the health, education and trade departments as well as the concerned local government units would be held on July 1, she added.
The barangay shelter proposal came into light amid limited DSWD centers intended for abandon and neglected children, vagrants, senior citizens, among others.
At present, Orogo said the DSWD has 72 care services centers but will implement a 50-bed capacity expansion in each facility.
She said some barangays currently have set aside multi-purpose centers to temporarily accommodate street children.
Meantime, the DSWD has promised that its social workers are on call 24/7 to assist minors who will be accosted in the government’s anti-tambay campaign.
Orogo said they usually take care of the minor and talk to their parents about the situation. If the child is an orphan, she said they are brought to DSWD centers for appropriate care and assistance.