By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is calling on the government to pay attention to the vulnerabilities faced by street children especially during this time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said street children face all sorts of challenges from their day-to-day lives, such as no access to education or information, good nutrition, clean water, as well as medical attention.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the country, the CHR is calling on the government to address these vulnerabilities.
“Kinikilala natin na may mga interbensyon ang pamahalaan noon pa man upang mapabuti ang sitwasyon ng mga batang ito subalit marami pang kinakailangang gawin (We acknowledge government intervention even before in order to better the lives of these children, but there are so many more things we can do),” De Guia said.
The CHR hopes that aid would regularly be given to street children, and any violence committed against women and their young would be addressed. Because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), De Guia said that there are rising incidents of domestic abuse especially targeted against women and children.
“Mahalagang mabigyang diin din ang tumataas na bilang ng insidente ng pang-aabuso laban sa babae’t bata dulot ng iba’t ibang tensyo’t problema sa loob ng bahay ngayong ipinagbabawal ang paglabas (It is important to give attention to the rising number of incidents of abuse against women and children because of tensions and problems inside the house now that they are no longer allowed to go out),” she said.
Health crisis or not, De Guia stressed that the rights of children, particularly street children, should never be disregarded.
“Mananatiling tapat ang Komisyon sa pagmamatyag sa mga pang-aabuso sa karapatang pantao habang nakikiisa tayo sa pagpigil sa pagkalat ng nakamamatay na sakit (The CHR has vowed to remain committed to monitoring abuse and violation of human rights as the country continues to fight this deadly disease),” she said.