UNICEF, DSWD launch book on street children with PNoy
Malacanang Palace, Philippines, October 27, 2011—President Benigno Aquino III today launched a book on street children with UNICEF and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in celebration of Children’s Month. The book, A Journey with Children: Living and Working on the Streets of the Philippines, is a collaboration between the UN children’s agency and the government’s social welfare department. The book follows the stories of 45 street children all over the Philippines as seen through the lens of UNICEF photographer Giacomo Pirozzi. It examines the situation of children that live in the worst conditions within the country.
“In the Philippines, growing numbers of children are vulnerable to and have become victims of various forms of abuse, violence, and exploitation. On top of poverty, malnutrition and poor health, children are faced with the daily struggle to survive: more than four million children are working, more than 250,000 live and work in the streets, more are sexually abused and exploited, trafficked, made to take up arms, get involved with drugs, come into conflict with the law and are without the guidance of parents and relatives who care for them,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Vanessa Tobin said.
There are around 250,000 street children in the country who are deprived of their right to survive, develop and be protected from harm. They are one of the most vulnerable child populations in the Philippines. Poverty and peer influence, when combined with problems and stresses in family life such as family break-ups, child abuse and neglect, and domestic violence push children to leave home and find solace, protection and support from their peers on the street.
In 2012, UNICEF and the Government of the Philippines embark on the new five-year Country Programme for Children 7 (CPC7) targeting the most deprived and hard-to-reach children, including street children. Based on solid research and analysis, UNICEF will target particularly vulnerable children in both rural and urban locations in areas of greatest poverty and risks. Among them are children in disaster-prone areas, children in conflict-affected areas and urban children, which include those living and working on the streets.
The book launch also coincided with the awarding ceremonies of the Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities, an initiative that UNICEF helped establish in the ‘90s. Spearheaded by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), it recognizes local government units that put in place a child-friendly environment and upholds the right of children on survival, protection, development and participation.
“UNICEF looks to the example that our child friendly municipalities and cities have given in ensuring that no child is left behind. Only when governments, communities and families work together in the name of children can they fully realize their greatest potential. We commend the CWC and the DSWD for promoting a culture of child-friendly governance in the country. Let us continue our shared commitment of championing children’s rights in the Philippines,” Tobin concludes.