By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will soon pilot test the specialized spaces in barangays in key Metro Manila cities for the temporary shelter of minors rescued from the streets.
The Silungan sa Barangay aims to effectively address the issue of street children and families in the country.
“We are initially launching it on the barangay level of key cities. We have already discussed it (the program) with the city governments of Quezon, Caloocan and Manila,” DSWD Secretary Virginia Orogo said.
“We want all barangays to have a dedicated space for the street children and families. We have already discussed this with other partner-agencies such as TESDA, DILG, DOH, DepEd and DTI, and non-government organizations that are willing to help because we are starting the Silungan sa Barangay without funds at all,” she added.
Orogo noted the urgency of the program to address the presence of children on the streets, as she feels “frustrated” whenever she sees street children and cannot do anything about it.
“We don’t want these children to stay in the streets for long,” she said.
“We can do the program even without money. I think volunteerism is very important in the implementation of this program. Later on as we progress with the development of the program, we can already secure funds,” she added.
She asked the public to help in the efforts of the Department in addressing the concern.
“We are looking for a space…if you have a space in your area such as unutilized building, maybe we can use that for these people. DSWD is willing to rehabilitate or repair the place,” she said.