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Bongbong, Sara want helpline that will rescue street children amid pandemic

The tandem of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is calling for the creation of a "text helpline" that will rescue children who are on the streets in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Marcos said street children are more susceptible to the disease especially with the threat of the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant.

“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,” Marcos said.

(During the holidays, the increase in the number of street children begging for money was noticeable. This is alarming given that the cases of COVID-19 have increased. They need to be rescued since they are more vulnerable to the virus.)

The tandem said one of the solutions in keeping children off the streets is to install a "text helpline" that will be utilized to rescue the kids. This will encourage concerned citizens to inform authorities on the presence of children who need to be rescued.

The BBM-Sara UniTeam said 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), local government units and barangays are needed to ensure the success of the program.

“The protection of the rights and interests of children should never be compromised in whatever situation they may be in,” Marcos said.

Meanwhile, Duterte said there should also be a long term plan on how to take care and give 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,” Duterte said.

(We should provide them with a decent residence, good education, and other beneficial programs. We should ensure their education for their future.) — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA News