Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo has urged the 17 local chief executives (LCEs) of Metro Manila to start addressing the plight of street children, street families and Badjaos or the migrant indigenous families.
Robredo made the call to converge their efforts with the national government in support of President Aquino’s Comprehensive Program for Streetchildren spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with the goal of achieving ZERO street children in 38 critical areas in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Addressing the varied concerns of streetchildren is a lingering concern for decades. Street children pa lang noon. Ngayon street families na at may Badjaos pa. As duty bearers, we are all accountable and they are our responsibility,” he said, during the Advocacy Forum for LCEs on Street Children organized by the DSWD and the Council for the Welfare of Children held recently in Quezon City.
Some 4,000 “highly visible” street children ply in Metro Manila, with the majority in the cities of Manila, Quezon, Caloocan, Pasay, Paranaque, Mandaluyong and Muntinlupa, according to a recent DSWD study.
Robredo emphasized that local chief executives can provide important leadership with the assistance of the local social welfare officers for coordinating and integrating efforts to address the plight of street children, their families, including the Badjaos.
He said that LGUs in urban areas where street children, street families and the Badjaos are mostly visible must ensure that there is an enabling local policy environment for them and that more ordinances be passed that will protect their rights and provide for their basic needs.