'COVID could be spread, too, by street urchins; DSWD must pay attention' — Roque

Published November 8, 2021, 4:39 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to “give attention” to so-called street urchins, saying they could become spreaders of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

THEY’RE EVERYWHERE–Street children are seen playing along Lacson Ave. Sampaloc, Manila on Aug.30, 2021. None of them are wearing face masks, which is understandable and disturbing at the same time. (Manny Llanes)

“Tama po yan. So nananawagan po kami sa DSWD (That is correct. As such we are appealing to the DSWD),” Roque said in a virtual press conference Monday, Nov. 8, as he agreed with a reporter’s opinion that the street children could end up spreading the deadly illness.

The Christmas season is also the time when street urchins are most aggressive in asking for alms from the public. They would often climb aboard moving public utility vehicles (PUVs) to seek such alms, especially if the PUV is full of passengers.

“Kinakailangan po talaga na bigyan natin ng atensyon itong mga batang hamog dahil bukod doon sa iyong well-being nung mga kabataang iyan, importante rin po na masigurado ang kanilang kalusugan dahil nandyan pa rin po ang pandemya (We really need to give attention to these street urchins because aside from guarding their well-being, it’s also important to ensure their health since we’re still in a pandemic),” Roque explained.

The Malacañang official didn’t say exactly how he thinks the DSWD should handle the problem posed by the street children.

For the past week, the country has recorded relatively low daily fresh cases of COVID-19, especially when compared to August and September figures.

The National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila in particular has been enjoying the benefits of the huge decline in cases, especially when the region was de-escalated from alert level 3 to alert level 2 last Nov. 5.

Roque, in the same presser, reminded Filipinos that they should continue to adhere to minimum public health standards (MPHS), or else the daily COVID-19 cases would shoot up again and operations of businesses would have to be scaled back anew.