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The Manila Times : Marcos seeks 'text helpline' for street kids

News & Interviews
6 January 2022

By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times

FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has called for the establishment of a "text helpline" to rescue and keep homeless street children off the streets amid the pandemic.

The presidential aspirant voiced concern about the dangers faced by homeless children because of the surging Covid-19 cases.

In a statement on Wednesday, Marcos said the street children should be rescued immediately because they are more susceptible to Covid-19.

"I became even more worried because street children are more 'vulnerable' [to getting infected] that's why they should be rescued immediately," he said in Filipino.

Marcos said that one of the solutions he and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio see to keep street children off the streets is to install a "Text Helpline" that is exclusively dedicated to rescuing them.

It is designed to encourage concerned citizens to inform appropriate authorities on the presence of children who need to be rescued in their respective communities.

Marcos said any netizen or Filipino can take photographs of street children and post it on the helpline.

"They will just post it to the 'Helpline Online' to be established soon or give their (children's) location and the LGU (local government) or the local police will rescue them immediately," he said.

"Talagang nakapag-aalala dahil mabilis ang pagtaas ng bilang ng (It's quite alarming because of the surge in) Covid cases," Marcos said.

When he was a senator, Marcos co-authored Republic Act 10821, or 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," he said.

Duterte-Carpio said there should also be a long term plan on how to take care, protect and give appropriate guidance to the rescued street children.

Marcos and Duterte-Carpio said that close coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Philippine National Police, LGUs and village officials is needed to ensure the success of the program.