MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD) "I-Report Batang Lansangan sa Metro Manila” project will go on until every child is off the street, Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman said.
In its latest project, DSWD taps Filipino netizens to help in rescuing street children through micro-blogging site Twitter.
The public can now easily inform the DSWD about children loitering, begging or vending on the streets through its Twitter account @savestritchild.
The DSWD secretary said they launched the project on Thursday due to the expected increase in the number of children begging on the streets this Christmas season.
But she claimed that the account @savestritchild will be active all year round.
"We're testing this out because we know that there could be an increase in the number of street carolers and we are discouraging that. But beyond Christmas, this is going to go on until every child is off the streets," Soliman said on ANC.
To report street children, netizens should tweet the complete name of street or the intersection, the nearest landmark in Metro Manila, and the time that they actually saw the street children.
She said the tweets would be received in the National Capital Region office, where a dedicated unit would then coordinate with the barangay where the children were seen.
"If it's in a place where we have a working relationship with the barangay council, we call there and it is the barangay council who first responds," Soliman said.
She said the barangay council would then ensure that the children would go back to their homes.
Soliman added, "The barangay council members talk with the parents and tell the parents 'this is not good for your children.' They will execute a commitment of taking care that the children will not be in the streets anymore."
"If found for the third time, they (parents) are told that 'we will take the children and take care of them because you are not able to take care of the children,'" she said.
The Social Welfare secretary also said the agency has the full support of all 14 local government units in Metro Manila.