Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding the President’s order to boost aid for street children

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding the President’s order to boost aid for street children

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commends President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s recent directive to boost aid for street children and homeless individuals or families that need urgent help. This proactive measure demonstrates our commitment to addressing challenging problems such as poverty and improving the lives of Filipinos, particularly those in the marginalised sector.

President Marcos wants a more coordinated, long-term approach to getting them off the streets, into shelters, and eventually to a more secure future for FISS, or “Families or Individuals in Street Situations.” President Marcos has also directed a multiagency effort to ensure the effective implementation of the “Pag-abot Program,” which aims to evacuate homeless families, particularly children, from the streets for their own safety while also providing them with a livelihood or source of income, relocation, and adequate shelter.

According to a 2022 United Nations report, there were more than 246,000 street children in the Philippines. These children are exposed to a multitude of risks, including exploitation, abuse, malnutrition, child labor, and a lack of access to healthcare and quality education.

As enshrined in Article XV, Section 3(2) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the “State shall defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and provide for special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development.”

Moreover, as stated in Article III of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

This initiative also aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 11 or Sustainable Cities and Communities, and the 2023-2028 Philippine Development Plan (PDP) under the social and human development sector.

We warmly welcome to assist and coordinate with different agencies in implementing this program as we acknowledge the complexity of the challenges faced by families and individuals, especially children in street situations. By leveraging our collective resources and networks, we can ensure a comprehensive and compassionate response to homelessness.

The Commission is dedicated to upholding the rights of everyone, particularly the children and the marginalised. We remain committed to alleviating the lives of street children and homeless individuals or families as everyone has the right to decent shelter, food, access to quality education, and a dignified life. ###