DSWD eyes custody of street children

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2022 04:11 PM

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is studying a stricter policy to address the proliferation of street children, according to Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo. 

Tulfo said the agency is consulting legal experts on whether the DSWD can have custody of children rescued more than three times from begging on the streets.

“Ang problema kasi… Common practice na during the past several administration, kukunin ang bata, ilalagak ng LGU sa DSWD, bukas, babalikan, kukunin ng nanay, ‘pag nakuha niya, ibabalik na naman niya ‘yung anak niya sa kalsada. So paulit-ulit. It’s a cycle… It’s a band-aid solution, ‘yung kukunin mo sila sa kalsada, tapos wala kang gagawing paraan,” Tulfo lamented.

“Siguro with the help of the LGUs at kokonsulta tayo sa legal experts natin sa Kongreso, sa Senado, maging sa Malacanang, ‘yung ating legal counsel doon, ng OSG kung paano ang gagawin… ‘Pag naka-tatlong beses na ni-rescue ng pamahalaan, ng LGU ang iyong anak sa lansangan, tinitingnan namin kung pwede na bang kunin na ng DSWD ang pangangalaga sa mga batang ito. Tutal trabaho talaga naman ng DSWD ang child protection, aalagaan ng gobyerno, dadamitan, papakain, papaaralin ‘yung bata, kesa nandyan pagala-gala sa lansangan na very dangerous,” he added.

The DSWD chief is also pushing for livelihood assistance for indigenous peoples so they wont have to return to the streets to beg.

“They just need funding para makapagpatayo sila ng pangkabuhayan nila. So they will not keep on begging every month, at hihingi ng pera, at pagkatapos babalik na naman, dahil kukunin ng DSWD, ng LGU. We really have to stop this, and think about it. ‘Yung long term. Hind ‘yung band-aid solution,” he said.