STATEMENT FROM BAHAY TULUYAN
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR STREET CHILDREN
More than 3 decades after the first national attempts to address the plight of children on the street in the Philippines, the situation for these children in many Philippine cities remains dire. In the recent 3rd Street Children’s Congress in the Philippines, hosted by Bahay Tuluyan, street-connected children shared their experiences of surviving in harsh urban environments. Pushed and pulled onto the street by a variety of factors, children recounted stories of violence, abuse, stigmatization, torture, and even death. They expressed deep desires to be noticed, accepted, cared for.
Their voices, as expressed in their statement and creative outputs, must be heard. We fully and strongly support their statements and calls for action.
The UNCRC General Comment 21 on Children in Street Situations (GC 21), released in June 2017, is a landmark document for children in street situations. GC 21 recognizes, at the highest level, that children in street situations need to be protected, listened to and assisted. For the Philippines, GC 21 presents an opportunity to become a world leader in terms of responding effectively and holistically to the needs of street-connected children through a framework of international best practices.
Bahay Tuluyan lauds the national government for establishing the Sub-Committee on the Protection and Welfare for Children in Street Situations as a first step to ensuring the potential of GC 21 is effectively harnessed. It also strongly supports the initial efforts by this committee to develop a national plan of action for Children in Street Situations aiming to implement in full the recommendations of GC 21 through “The 4 Steps to Equality”:
1. Commit to Equality
2. Protect Every Child
3. Provide Access to Services
4. Create Specialised Solutions
We call on the Philippine government, from the barangay level to the national government, to build on the progress made so far by fully committing to achieve equality and dignity for all street connected children.
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