CONCERNED about the dangers posed to homeless street children by the sudden resurgence of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) cases in the country, the BBM-Sara UniTeam is calling for the immediate establishment of a ‘text helpline’ to rescue and keep them off the streets.
Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) presidential aspirant Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. explained it is important to rescue the street kids immediately because they are the ones who are more susceptible to the disease, especially since it is feared that the new variant, Omicron which could infect and spread faster than other variants is now in the country.
“Nitong nakalipas na Pasko, kapansin-pansin ang pagdami ng mga kababayan nating namamalimos sa kalsada. Talagang nakapag-aalala dahil mabilis ang pagtaas ng bilang ng covid cases natin.
Lalo akong nag-aalala dahil mas ‘vulnerable’ ang mga kabataan nating pagala-gala sa kalsada kaya dapat ay mailigtas agad natin sila,” said Marcos.
Health experts say that young children could be more susceptible to contracting the infection from the new variant although it is believed that it is not as virulent as the Delta strain.
Marcos and his running-mate Inday Sara Duterte said that one of the solutions they see to keep children off the streets is to install a ‘Text Helpline’ that is exclusively dedicated to rescuing them.
The project is designed to encourage concerned citizens to inform appropriate authorities on the presence of children that need rescuing in their respective communities.
“Magiging mabilis ang aksyon dito kasi kahit sinong netizen o kababayan natin ay puwede silang kunan sa cellphone. Ipo-post nila ito sa itatayong ‘Helpline online’ o kaya ibibigay ang eksaktong lokasyon at doon ay reresponde agad ang LGU, o di kaya pulisya at nakasasakop na barangay para sagipin sila,” added Marcos.
The BBM-Sara UniTeam said that close coordination and cooperation among relevant agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Philippine National Police (PNP) , LGUs and barangays will be needed to ensure the success of the program.
A former senator, Marcos co-authored Republic Act 10821, also known as the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, which provides protection for children affected by calamities and man-made disasters.
“The protection of the rights and interests of children should never be compromised in whatever situation they may be in,” Marcos stressed.
According to him, if the national government, local government units (LGUs) and barangay officials will work together, it will be easier to rescue the homeless children.
Sara for her part said there should also be a long term plan on how to take care, protect and give appropriate guidance to the rescued street children.
“Bigyan natin sila ng disenteng tirahan. Maayos na edukasyon, makabuluhan at produktibong programa. Dapat ay masiguro natin na magkakaroon sila ng maayos na edukasyon upang masiguro natin ang kanilang maayos na kinabukasan,” Sara said.