MANILA—Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has filed a bill seeking the creation of crisis centers for street children.
According to Dela Rosa, Senate Bill No. 232 would serve to build “a protective environment for street children.”
“The children, as stated in the Declaration of the Rights of Child, practically need special safeguards, as well as legal protection before and after birth. This is because of their physical and mental immaturity,” Dela Rosa said in a statement.
Dela Rosa cited reports from the social welfare department that there has been an increasing number of street children in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the country.
“The vulnerable kids who roam around our streets should be sheltered from circumstances that danger their survival and normal development,” he said.
Dela Rosa’s proposed measure seeks to provide an emergency medical and feeding program, temporary shelter, and basic educational, legal and counseling services for street children.
The bill also seeks to provide immediate rehabilitation for minors identified as substance abusers, livelihood, technical and social trainings, and support system from the local government units.
It also aims to strengthen the foster-care system in the country.
The bill was filed at a time when reports of abuse in youth detention center persisted.
Agence France-Presse has reported cases of sexual abuse among peers in such facilities, officially called “Bahay Pag-asa.”
These youth detention centers struggle with overcrowding and inadequate food supply.
There are 55 government-run Houses of Hope centers nationwide, but this is well short of the 114 the Philippines has estimated it needs to properly house troubled juveniles.