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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                       

Republic of the Philippines

Although the general macroeconomic outlook improved significantly in recent years, the economy still faces several long term challenges. The Philippines must maintain the reform momentum in order to catch up with regional competitors, improve employment opportunities, and alleviate poverty. The Philippines will need still higher, sustained growth to make progress in alleviating poverty, given its high population growth and unequal distribution of income.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Philippines

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Philippines.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Stairway away from Hell

Signe Damkjaer, ScandAsia - Denmark News, 02 January 2008

[accessed 7 July 2011]

[accessed 28 December 2016]

VICTIMS OF POVERTY - The boys who are staying at Stairway are between 13 and 18 years old and from Manila. They have been living on the street either because they do not have a family or have run away from home.  “Most of the children are victims of poverty and the consequences of poverty which are broken families, violence, drugs, alcoholism, and in many cases sexual abuse,” Lars explains. “It is a great decision for a child at the age of 10 to decide to run away from home. They will take a lot of beating before that. I think the sexual abuse is what really makes then run away,” he says.

Death squads roam Davao–UN, monitors

Agence France-Presse AFP, Davao, February 13, 2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 July 2011]

All the young Davao victims lived on the street, had joined gangs, and many had police records for petty crime or were drug couriers, local rights monitors say.

“The death squads are actually copying Brazil,” he said, referring to the wave of vigilante killings of street children in the South American country in the 1990s.

“They said that this is a good thing for Davao. This is good for business because people feel safe, that the DDS [Davao death squads] is doing a service to the community—that they’re trying to get rid of the garbage,” he said.

Rescue or ruin in Manila?

The Australian National University ANU News, Autumn 2008

[accessed 7 July 2011]

[accessed 28 December 2016]

WHY ARE STREET CHILDREN TREATED SO POORLY IN THE PHILIPPINES? - Generally, street children have refused to remain in neglected, hidden away areas of the city. We found that the majority of street children had staked out the most beautified areas of the city – squares, major highways, outside shopping centres, markets, fountains, tourist attractions, and near restaurants. These are areas of the city that are rich in resources: people to beg from, tourists to sell small items to, restaurants that hand out free food, grass to sleep on, fountains to wash in, and plenty of areas to play. But they are also areas of the city that the wealthier residents of the city would prefer to claim as their own – and to keep ‘beautiful’.

This situation has given rise to many uncomfortable encounters between the rich and poor. While walking along the streets or sitting in a restaurant, you’re often approached by snotty-nosed, barefooted, half-naked street children asking for food. Others can be seen tapping on tinted car windows, asking for money. Walking down the steps to the train station, you see mothers holding out malnourished babies. And in the parks or outside the local 7/11, street children can be found sniffing rugby (a brand of glue). This seems to have incubated a lot of distrust, frustration, and hostility among the general public towards street children.  Street children are often called ‘yagit’ by the general public – which translates as ‘rubbish on the street’.

The Filipino kids still behind bars

Father Shay Cullen, Preda Foundation, 27-Jul-2007

[accessed 7 July 2011]

[accessed 28 December 2016]

There has been progress in saving and releasing hundreds of small children and youth from the stench filled cells across the Philippines. President Macapagal-Arroyo ordered last 16 July 2007 that all children be released from the prisons, police jails and so-called reception centers, a euphemism for child prisons. The Preda children's home in Olongapo is almost full but ready to receive more children and is building a new home for some of those to be released. Cradle a child prison in Metro Manila is to be closed. The president heard the cries of the children echoed by the charities helping them survive.

There could yet be an estimated 20,000 waiting for freedom. The new Juvenile Justice and Welfare law says they must be released, the presidential executive order 633 made only this July, says it must be implemented without delay but bureaucracy is moribund and there is no ready homes for the many children behind bars.


*** ARCHIVES ***

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 16 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children living on the streets engage in informal labor activities such as scavenging or begging.  Children are also engaged in domestic service and are involved in the commercial sex industry, including the use of children in the production of pornography and the exploitation of children by sex tourists.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 29 March 2020]

CHILDREN - The government estimated that there were at least 22 thousand street children nationwide. UNICEF estimated that there were approximately 250 thousand street children. Welfare officials believed that the number increased as a result of widespread unemployment in rural areas. Many street children appeared to be abandoned and engaged in scavenging or begging.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 June 2005

[accessed 16 December 2010]

[82] The Committee reiterates its grave concern at the high number of children living in the streets and their special vulnerability to various forms of violence and abuse, including sexual abuse and exploitation, economic exploitation and substance abuse. The Committee notes the lack of a systematic and comprehensive strategy to address the situation and protect children living in the streets. The Committee emphasizes that unlawful arrests and detentions of street children are serious violations of the provisions and principles of the Convention. Notwithstanding the efforts taken by the State party and, in particular many non-governmental organizations working with and for street children, e.g. ChildHope Asia Philippines, the Committee is concerned about street children’s limited access to adequate nutrition, clothing, housing, social and health services and education. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned about health risks faced by street children, including environmental health risks, such as toxic and hazardous wastes and air pollution.

Tough justice: On the trail of Philippine death squads

David McNeill, The Independent, Davao, 1 June 2009

[accessed 7 July 2011]

They came to kill her children one by one. First was Richard in 2001, then his brother Christopher. Bobby was taken from her the following year, and Fernando in 2007. Now Clarita Alia lives in fear that Arnold, her remaining son, is next. And far from protecting her shattered family, it is the police who are behind the killings, she says.   “The police said, ‘We will take your sons one by one’,” recalls the 54-year-old grandmother at the graveside of her murdered brood in the southern Philippine city of Davao. “They may kill me too, but I am not afraid to die. I’m already old.”

The mayor of the country’s second-biggest city says they all deserved to die. “What I want to do it so instil fear,” he told reporters earlier this year. “If you are doing an illegal activity in my city, if you are a criminal or part of a syndicate that preys on the innocent people of the city, for as long as I am the mayor, you are a legitimate target of assassination.”

Philippines Aids Death Squads, Group Says

The Associated Press AP, April 7, 2009

[accessed 7 July 2011]

Police and government officials abetted the killings and provided training and weapons to squads responsible for more than 800 deaths in the southern Philippines, including those of suspected criminals and street children as young as 14, an international human rights group said Tuesday.   New York-based Human Rights Watch said its investigation showed 814 suspected drug dealers, petty criminals and street children allegedly involved in gangs were gunned down as a crime deterrent between 1998 and February 2009 in Davao city. Thirty-three killings were reported in the southern city in January alone.

"The hundreds of targeted killings in Davao city in recent years are clearly not random events but the result of planned hits by a 'death squad' that involves police officers and local officials," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.   "The police consistently fail to bring the perpetrators to justice, while the local government cheers from the sidelines," said Roth.

Roth said evidence so far showed low-level police involvement and did not directly link Duterte or senior police officials to the killings. But he said the mayor has given active blessing to murder as a solution to criminality, giving tacit signal to death squads to continue their work.

Police officers or ex-police officers provided the death squads with training, weapons and ammunition, motorcycles, and information on the targets, Human Rights Watch said

Gov’t ‘rescue’ of street kids useless

Veronica Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 02/26/2009

[accessed 7 July 2011]

Scerri said government rescue operations see the children as eyesores that need to be kept off the streets. With batons, handcuffs, and guns sometimes used in these operations, the children therefore see them as arrests and not rescues.   “About 30 percent of those who were rescued were sleeping, so the children wake up in the shelters thinking they were kidnapped,” she said.

Scerri told of a street child who has been “rescued” 59 times and has kept going back to the streets. This, she pointed out, only shows that the program “is not working.”   “It’s not effective and it’s happening for the wrong reasons,” she said.

These children and their families need in-city, low-cost housing; alternative education; and affordable health services, she said.   “Their families must be economically stable, because if not, the children will go out to the streets,” she said.   Scerri said street children cannot be forced to live in shelters. She said many of them live in the streets and have learned to survive there; their sense of identity is connected to the streets.   These children may not be able to survive in a residential setting, she said.   “They are free spirits. They have learned to fend for themselves since they were four or five. They have a different way of life,” she said.   “Any solution must involve knowing the kids. It’s better to let them find their own solution than telling them this is the solution,” she added.

Half of our 1.5-M population of street children inhale glue

Armando F. de Jesus, Ph. D., The Manila Times, Feb 8, 2009;wap2

[accessed 14 October 2012]

STREET LIFE - Most of the kids are unable to tell when their life in the street began. It is as if they had been born into it and that for as long as they could remember the street had always been part of their lives.

Earning a living is a daily preoccupation and it is in the street where they find the opportunity to do so.   Having earned some money, food comes naturally as the next important preoccupation. Their typical meal is a kind of porridge that they call “kabaw”—or “kanin at sabaw.”   When there is no money, they resort to begging for food scraps.   One meal a day is perhaps what a street child can most realistically expect. Having more is a bonus.

The other consuming preoccupation is household glue. It has become part of the daily routine and sniffing it comes almost as naturally as eating and sleeping. It has become, in a sense, part of their survival mechanism in the city jungle.   Sleep marks the end of the day. As with waking up, there is no regular place for sleeping. For many, sleep takes place where nightfall overtakes them or wherever their drugged body finds it convenient to rest.   The next day the cycle begins again.

Cops nab man who forces children into begging

Nestor Etolle, The Philippine Star, February 07, 2009

[accessed 11 Aug  2013]

A man who allegedly abducted a five-year-old child and forced him to beg in the streets was arrested by the police during a rescue operation in Tondo, Manila on Thursday.

During his arrest, Aleo was recognised by Espino as the same man he had previously arrested on October 7 for abducting at least eight street children, then turning them into beggars.

The boy’s mother, Rowena Pacis, reported to police her missing child on Monday, and according to witnesses the boy was forcibly taken away by Aleo.  Rowena brings along her child and fend on his own while vending vegetables in Tondo market.

The boy told police he had seen the suspect ordering other street children to beg in exchange for solvents.

MMDA warns public on ‘wealthy’ vagrants

Jefferson Antiporda, The Manila Times, December 9, 2008

[accessed 7 July 2011]

The government is advising the public to stop giving alms to vagrants who would be flooding the major thoroughfares in Metro Manila this yuletide season. The reason: chances are these vagrants are wealthier than the average resident of Metro Manila.

SYNDICATES BEHIND VAGRANTS - At the same time, Nacianceno said the MMDA is now monitoring the group responsible for transporting Igorots from the Mount Province, Aetas from Pampanga and even Bajao from Mindanao to Manila to become vagrants.   Naciaceno they got information about the syndicates from the natives they earlier rounded up and turned over to the Social Welfare department. He warned the syndicates bringing vagrants from the provinces that the MMDA knows who they are, and that they would be prosecuted if they continue with their criminal activities.

Zamboanga traffic enforcers linked to execution of street boy

GMANews.TV, Zamboanga City, 12/03/2008

[accessed 7 July 2011]

A Filipino boy, whose twin brother was found murdered, has accused traffic enforcers in this southern city Zamboanga City for the grisly killing.   The victim, Benjamin Mariga, was stabbed 17 times and his body had been recovered on a mountain village called Abong-Abong on Oct. 31. He was 14 years old.   The boy, his brother Paul Mariga, and four other street children were arrested late last month by five traffic enforcers after accusing them of being thieves, the victim's mother, Flor Mariga, said.

Paul Mariga said the officers herded them into a mini-van and brought to a place where they had been ordered to clean. Except for him and his brother, the rest of the children either escaped or were freed by the officers. He said they were brought to Abong-Abong village onboard a van, but Paul Mariga claimed that he jumped out from the vehicle and escaped after the officers tied the hands of his brother.   Paul Mariga said his brother screamed for help and told him to run and to tell their mother about what happened. "It was the last time I saw my brother alive. And it pains me so much after I saw his body. He was stabbed 17 times," Paul Mariga said.

Life on the Streets of Ermita Still Beats Life Back Home: Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project

Claire Delfin, Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project, GMANews, Manila, September 25, 2008

[accessed 7 July 2011]

[accessed 28 December 2016]

Mary Grace Pulido, 17, is from Ermita. She was born there, grew up there, and lives there. She even found her man there. Her life is on the street.  She and her family often move from one corner to another but Mary Grace has known no other home except the sidewalks of this tourist district of Manila, a stone’s throw from the US Embassy.

Her parents came to the Philippine capital in the 1980s from Baguio City, 240 kilometers north of Manila, with hopes of finding a better life. But like so many others before and after them, all they found instead were the realities of a harsh life and tried to survive in a city without work. Within days and with no money or prospects for returning home they ended up on the streets, begging, living and bringing up a family as best they could.  Their belongings comprise some folded cardboard they use as sleeping mats, pots, pans and plate for cooking, and some clothes. When the rains come, it is very easy to gather everything up together and run into a nearby church for shelter.  When they feel nature’s calling, they use a nearby public toilet costing PhP 10 (US cents 22) a visit. They also use the showers here while many other street families make do simply with the monsoon rains in the wet season and a hosepipe and soap in the dry months.  Perhaps because they always keep together and are always moving around, they have never been victims of violence nor recruited by criminal gangs.  Mary Grace claims she made it to Grade 3 in school, but was forced to quit because her parents could not afford to keep her in class.

Back to the Dark Ages, Still Jailing Children

Fr. Shay Cullen, PREDA Foundation, 19 September 2008

[accessed 7 July 2011]

[accessed 28 December 2016]

When I asked 13 year old Jonathan to draw a picture of himself in jail he drew a stick like figure of a small boy hanging half way up the bars of a prison cell. Behind him a bigger figure was hitting him with a stick. That was his punishment every time he fell asleep when ordered by the cell boss to guard his cell phone and stash of drugs at night in the overcrowded cell. He was too ashamed to draw a picture of himself as a “girly-boy”. He was sexually molested by the older prisoners.

Many street children are arrested on a pretext so the police can meet a weekly arrest quota. Other police claim that the children are used by criminal syndicates. Unfortunately the police are unable to catch and jail the real criminals just the innocent children and claim “Mission accomplished”.  The children behind bars in filthy over-crowded, mosquito ridden cells are filled with bewilderment, pain and hunger. They are the throwaway children, lost lives, wasted human beings. They will be corrupted in the colleges of crime with other hardened criminals.  Besides they will be exposed to malnutrition, abandonment, abuse, torture and exploitation. The evidence of this is seen in the drawings and testimonies of the children rescued and released from jails and detention centers. It is damming evidence of abuse and torture and the daily violation of their human rights.

A pile of rubbish was home to baby twins

Giles Hattersley, The Sunday Times, September 7, 2008

[accessed 7 July 2011]

[accessed 28 December 2016]

 “One night we went out and it was pitch black, the thunder and lightning started, then the torrential rain came in. I squinted to try to see what was concrete, what was rubbish, what were homes, what were people, what were limbs, what were rats. I looked down and saw a pile of rubbish, then realised it was a house with two baby girl twins sitting naked at the door.”

Homelessness is an epidemic in the Philippines, with people driven to the cities on the promise of work but finding little or no support structure when they can’t make enough to live on. Parents, who often don’t have even a basic education, struggle to look after themselves let alone their children, so the kids run wild. And they’re the lucky ones. Many of the children are runaways or – even sadder – have simply been lost.

The attendant problems are as predictable as they are devastating. The majority of kids are addicted to glue (they call it “Rug-by” after a brand of cheap glue), crime and human trafficking are rife and both girls and boys fall into prostitution.

It’s worse at night, says Deeley. “I met a boy called Alturo, who was 14 but looked 10, the cutest little chap you could ever encounter. But as dusk fell it’s like the dark gets them. In the day he was a normal, gorgeous, fun-loving boy – then at night it all changed. He was glue-sniffing, stealing, his eyes hardened over. When it gets dark, the older lads take over and it gets very scary. He went into survival mode.

“Most of them have rotten teeth, and loads have respiratory problems, skin diseases and eye infections because of Manila’s huge pollution problem. They all swim in the river, which has pipes every few hundred feet dumping in raw sewage.

“The kids can’t wash regularly, so one day we followed them to a fire station where they were hoping to wash, but the firemen had locked the hydrants because water is so expensive. I watched as seven of them all tried to clean themselves in a filthy puddle behind a parked car.

Suspected pickpockets, 10 of them youngsters, nabbed

Marlon Ramos, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 03/19/2008

[accessed 7 July 2011]

“We believe those children were members of a syndicate whose modus is to get the attention of their would-be victims by mobbing them while pretending to be vendors selling different items,” Trago told the Inquirer.  Unfortunately, he said, some parents of street children were the ones “encouraging” them to engage in criminal acts.  According to Trago, the victim, his Filipina wife Wilma and two other companions had just stepped out of the Zirkoh Comedy Bar in Timog Avenue, in the village of South Triangle at around 2:45 a.m. when more than 12 street kids suddenly mobbed them.  Wilma said some of the children begged for money from her husband while others asked them to buy sampaguita flowers.  “My husband got irked when some of the kids put their hands inside the side pockets of his pants,” Wilma narrated.  She said her husband only noticed that his wallet was missing when they boarded their vehicle.

‘Selective vigilantism’ in Davao

Nikko Dizon, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 04/05/2009

[accessed 20 September 2011]

One study showed that almost all the minors killed since 1998 were "street children or urban living and working children."   "A significant number of young adults were former street children and gang members," added the study provided by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.   In an interview after the CHR's public inquiry last week, De Lima told the Inquirer that it appeared the "targets were poor, helpless D-E class."

No Merry Christmas for street children

Sherryl Anne G. Quito, The Sunday Times, December 16, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 July 2011]

[accessed 28 December 2016]

While children of well-off families enjoy suffering from Noche Buena overindulgence, street children suffer from hunger or food shortage. For Filipinos, Christmas is a season for family reunions and gatherings. Parents have their children in tow and are confronted with a heavy plate of pasta, ham, morcon, fruit salad. Street children are forced to beg for alms while singing Christmas carols or scavenge for food just to bring home something for the family to share on Christmas Eve.  Some are young criminals—with a gang boss. 

Instead of family reunions, these children are reunited with their comrades in juvenile prison. SPO1 Alfred Tenorio of the Manila Police District said their records show that the number of children put in jail increases as the holiday season approaches. The most common offense committed by these children are bag-snatching and pick pocketing, especially in the Divisoria, Binondo and Quiapo districts areas flooded with shoppers.

SPO1 Tenorio reveals that most children they take in for questioning say they really don’t want to commit crimes.  Most of them are forced by their parents, bullied by older kids or instructed by syndicate bosses.

Street ‘carolers’ will be rounded up--MMDA

Julie M. Aurelio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, December 08, 2007

[accessed 7 July 2011]

[accessed 31 December 2016]

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said it will be rounding up street children caught caroling on busy streets beginning next week.  The idea is not a kill-joy move but intended to keep the children out of the way of speeding cars and trucks, said general manager Robert Nacianceno.

"Kids who want to have fun can still sing songs from house to house in their neighborhoods, in front of houses where there are no speeding cars. They can still go caroling," the MMDA official explained.  But children who dart to and from across major roads like EDSA, knocking on windshields and car windows for alms will definitely be taken into custody, Nacianceno added.

Fr. Shay Cullen » Why Children Die

Fr. Shay Cullen, Preda Foundation, 29 November 2007

[accessed 7 July 2011]

In the Philippines elementary and high school education is supposed to be provided free to the students by the government as their human right. But it’s not free. The children can’t enroll and that’s why there are hundreds of thousands of street children, working children and abused children begging on the streets and living in slums and unbelievable poverty surrounded by the sumptuous wealth of the few rich that have it all. That’s the reason they unknowingly take food from pimps and pedophiles and are trafficked with promises of food and money into the sex business.

Manila gov’t rescues children addicted to solvents

GMANews.TV, 10/16/2007

[accessed 7 July 2011]

It has become a common sight in Manila: street urchins with dingy eyes, inhaling compact solvents in plastic bags, even near the city’s police stations. On Monday night, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim ordered massive rescue operations for these children addicted to inhalants.

Temporary home provides shelter to street children

DJ Yap, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, September 29, 2007

[accessed 18 January 2017]

Karen never knew the meaning of home until she set foot in the Open Day Center (ODC) run by the Virlanie Foundation.  Having known only life in the streets and under the bridges of Manila, the strong willed 5-year-old girl was unprepared for this welcome environment in the heart of Quiapo and unwilling to leave the sanctuary it suddenly offered her.

But the center is open only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., after which the center’s staff of six retires from the task of providing street children like Karen a place to eat, bathe, and perhaps escape momentarily, the scary world outside.  Thus when the clock struck five, Karen would not budge from her seat.  She shook her head twice and squared her shoulders, determined not to leave what had served as her home for eight hours that day. “Can I stay?” she asked, leaving the social worker on duty not a little heartbroken.  Finally, her big brother grabbed Karen’s arm and together, as the sun set, they strolled toward whatever nook or cranny of Quezon Bridge was available to spend the night. We can always come back tomorrow, he told her.

When justice begins the pain ends

Fr. Shay Cullen, Preda Foundation, 6 August 2007

[accessed 7 July 2011]

The story of Jose began when he was hungry and he fell into temptation. He stole a cheap necklace not worth three dollars. But the owner, a street seller, was an unforgiving person. He had no understanding and he insisted on calling the police and having young Jose arrested and brought to the police station. Jose’s mother is a vegetable seller, his father is dead and he has three brothers and two sisters.

Jose is small for his age and underweight and has large appealing eyes. The necklace seller was shouting and cursing Jose. He was shamed and humiliated. The police brought him inside the jail and roughly pushed and shoved him, they twisted his arms behind his back to hurt him and he was bashed on the back of his head with a gun. It raised a huge lump and intense pain. The police shouted at him and began to beat him.

He could not hold back the tears as the pain pierced his head and brain. He cried held his head and slumped on the floor of a tiny cell packed with a dozen other street kids in ragged dirty T-shirts and shorts emaciated and starving. Their hunger and thirst was intense in the overpowering heat of the jail cell.

There was no food for Jose or the street kids because the police holding station does not feed the prisoners that is the responsibility of their family, if they have any. They didn't send for Jose's parents either although that's the law but the law also says they kids must not be put in jail. But the police do it anyway.

GenSan's ex-rugby boys become bakers

[Last access date unavailable]

[accessed 31 December 2016]

Former "rugby boys" in General Santos City now have a bright future ahead of them after they were taught to become bakers. Now, instead of sniffing bottles of the addictive substance, the boys hone their skills in the art of making breads and pastries.

Aldrin Ano-os, one of those trained to become a baker, said life is much better now compared to two years ago when he struggled to survive in the streets.

25 - Iloilo street children receive additional housing

Philippines News Agency PNA, June 25 2007

[accessed 31 December 2016]

The local government unit here has turned over 20 housing units for street children and their families in the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Village in Barangay So-oc, Arevalo district here.

To date, a total of 36 housing units have been built within the GK Village. Turnover for the first 16 units was done in November last year.  Livelihood programs have likewise been put in place, such as dress making and terracota pottery for the women and youth

The GK Village in Iloilo is the sixth that the PLDT group has adopted nationwide. It serves the specific purpose of providing street children and their families with permanent homes.

FUTURE FIRST: Investing in (street)children

Ma. Glaiza Lee, Manilla Bulletin, June 24, 2007

[accessed 31 December 2016]

You see them begging on the streets or rapping on car windows for alms. Their clothes are dirty and smelly because they rummage trash bins for food scraps. Some huddle in street corners, sniffing rugby. Children sell cigarettes or sampaguita leis while others resort to stealing, prostitution, and other petty crimes.  According to the 1998 report, entitled "Situation of the Youth in the Philippines," there are about 1.5 milllion street children in the Philippines, and 75,000 of them are found in Metro Manila alone.

Children in jail still need saving

Father Shay Cullen, Preda Foundation, 09-May-07

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 July 2011]

Bengie is a 14 year old, picked up by police on the streets of Manila accused for stealing food from a vendor's stall and held for weeks in local police station mixed in with thieves, accused rapists and even child abusers. The Preda social workers found Bengie and negotiated his release and transfer to the Preda Boys Home under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Law (Republic Act 9344) enacted in 2006. Unless the social workers go look in every police station and neighborhood substation the children will not be helped by the law.

Mean Streets

Juan Mercado, Inquirer, Manila, 04/19/2007

[accessed 10 July 2011]

[accessed 31 December 2016]

The street offers skimpy income for the family’s short rations.. It’s the only alternative to a desolate crowded home, abuse or violence. They “leave home” to escape from their families and ply sidewalks, hang around malls, begging, selling cigarettes, “sometimes even their little bodies". Less visible, street girls “are clearly an understudied reality. And they’re particularly stigmatized as they are perceived to be prostitutes".

They craft survival strategies to meet daily needs, interviews reveal. They appropriate niches where they cadge a few pesos, feel safe and find enjoyment. “They create alternative communities which substitute for families they can not rely on," the study notes. Their pride is “a defiant one born out of the lack of choice.” And all disappear from welfare agendas when they are not children anymore.

Mercado: Deaf to whimpers

Sun Star, April 21,.2007

[accessed 10 July 2011]

In Cebu, a phletora of agencies of varying effectiveness work for street kids, writes Judith Pomm of Germany’s Rhur University Bochum. But many citizens turn deaf ears to whimpers from the growing number of kids who take to the streets to beat poverty and hunger. Indifference “appears the most common reaction.”

Officials milk the kids for publicity, shove them into “houses of safety,” stressing their criminal potential, e.g. “they scratch parked cars.” “Homelesness gets confused with delinquency.” Two justifications are offered: vagrancy and mendicancy. “We don’t arrest children. We protect them,” says an official.

Home for homeless kids in GenSan opens

MindaNews, General Santos City, 28 March 2007

[accessed 18 January 2017]

Homeless street children now have their own place in the growing metropolis following the completion of an P8.3 million drop-in and social development training facility right at the heart of the city.

City launches 'Oplan Kalayaan'

Sun Star, 12 February 2007

[accessed 10 July 2011]

[accessed 19 January 2017]

Last Thursday, Barredo's group rescued over a hundred beggars, mendicants, rugby-sniffing kids, and mentally deranged individuals roaming the streets.  As part of the intensified campaign, the rescued street urchins underwent a three-day seminar during which they were assessed to determine if they should be sent to the Care centers, sent back to their places of origin, or provided with livelihood opportunities and other interventions.

Street children get assistance

Chrysee Samillano, Visayan Daily Star, Bacolod City, February 6, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 July 2011]

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday distributed cash assistance amounting to P28,500 to 57 street children from the different barangays in Bacolod City.  The children are part of the total 110 beneficiaries identified by the Department of Social Services and Development.  DSSD head Sally Abelarde said a number of these street children engage in mendicancy and one of the programs of the Leonardia administration is to provide them education assistance of P500 each annually to augment their needs in school.

From begging to scrap collecting, street kids make modest living

Roel Pareño, The Philippine Star, Zamboanga City, December 18, 2006

[accessed 18 January 2017]

Street children here have shifted and reinvented themselves to cope with the trying times from street begging to scrap collecting, which officials described as gauge of a competing economy even between the less privileged sector.

36 street kids rounded up

Marna H. Dagumboy, Sun Star, CAMP OLIVAS, January 10, 2007

[accessed 18 January 2017]

At least 36 street children, mostly vendors, were apprehended in Angeles City to prevent them from being exploited by suspected pedophiles hounding the entertainment area, a police official said.  Angeles Police Chief Sonny Cunanan also said the move was part of the City Government's anti-vagrancy campaign.

She said the children, aged six to 17 years old, were roaming the Fields Avenue area as flower vendors, beggars, and scavengers. She said they called the attention of the children's parents and educated them of the law about exploitation on children.  "Once we see these children back on the streets, we will file cases against their parents," she said.

City to round up children, stray dogs

Sun Star, December 4, 2006

[accessed 10 July 2011]

The task force will reorient the children with the goal of sending them back to school, if their parents cannot be located.  Those whom we will see in the streets, we will rescue them and try to identify them. If we find out they have been neglected, then we will file a petition for involuntary commitment so the City Government can take custody of these children.

The Street Children of Manila

BootsnAll Travel Network

[accessed 10 July 2011]

One day I am taken on a tour of a cemetery where some of the street children live ? a place which appears not so far from hell on earth ? drugged up nine year olds sniff brain-frying glues, feverish dehydrated babies lie on concrete tombstones, adolescents sleep in the unused grave chambers. The reasons why children end up on the streets like this are varied, but very often they are running away from families where they are horrendously neglected, abused, or plain abandoned.

Street Children of the Philippines

Lucille Talusan and Charlene Israel, Christian Broadcasting Network CBN News, MANILA, November 17, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 July 2011]

Maritess, her older sister, says that Elsha May was barely two when she started begging money from Jeepney passengers.  The Jeepney is a local means of transportation in the Philippines. As soon as the stoplight turns red, Elsha may runs to the Jeepney, wipes the shoes of the passengers, and looks into their eyes until she gets the equivalent of two cents.

At night, Elsha May is at the train station, begging once more for money and food. When the train station closes at 10 in the evening, her oldest sister, Maricris, picks her up and brings her home.  Elsha May gives all her earnings to her family.  After a hard day's work, she shares with her siblings a plate of noodles that she bought with her earnings.

City vying for ‘Most Child-Friendly’ title

Sun Star, October 31, 2006

[accessed 10 July 2011]

[accessed 19 January 2017]

Abelarde said that solving the problem on street children needs scientific approach.  This appoach, Abelarde said is to first know the number of years these street children have lived on the streets and multiply it to three years. The result is the minimum period of successfully taking them from the streets.

Parents' non-cooperation hampers help for street kids: social welfare

Sun Star, August 23, 2006

[accessed 10 July 2011]

[accessed 19 January 2017]

The reluctance of parents to cooperate with agencies concerned in promoting children's welfare is one of the reasons why the problem on street children could not fully be addressed, a social welfare official said on Tuesday.

He said some families refuse to work with them, claiming they do not need the agency's intervention in protecting the welfare of their children. He added that some parents believed that their children stay on the streets to earn a living.

UNICEF impressed with projects for street children in Cebu City

Cebu City, August 06, 2006

[accessed 10 July 2011]

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has expressed satisfaction about the various measures taken up for street children and minor offenders in Philippine metropolis Cebu City and has said that other countries and local governments have a lot to learn from these projects.

Beggar, Street Children Rounded Up In Zamboanga

Zamboanga Journal, Zamboanga,  09 July 2006

[accessed 10 July 2011]

Police said the street children are likely to be future criminals if this situation continues. Many street children were hooked into illegal drugs and some had resorted to robbery and snatching to sustain their vices.

"That’s not true, maybe some are into drugs, but not all of us are like that, said Orlando Santiago, 12, a beggar. "We are forced into this kind of life because of poverty. We don’t even have food on the table and my parents have no jobs. People should understand our predicament and not readily condemn us."

A Begging Hand, Some Humble Pie

Sylvia L. Mayuga, Inquirer, June 18, 2006,_Some_Humble_Pie

[accessed 20 September 2011]

Depending on who’s counting and why, estimates of the total number of Filipino street children vary, even as they continue to rise tsunami-like in the swelling tide of this country’s seemingly endless political and economic crisis. The figures range from a low 100,000 to a high (but raw) figure of 250,000-300,000 nationwide.

Youngblood : Uncertainty

Heidi Santos-Demaisip, Inquirer, June 15, 2006

[accessed 10 July 2011]

But I think the real reason we want to leave is that we don’t want our two-year-old daughter to be exposed to the kind of environment in which we are living now. We don’t want her to see poverty and what it does to families, and how it debases the children. We dread hearing her ask us one day why street children have to knock on our car windows begging for money. And we dread even more the chance that she would hear the curses being thrown at us if we refuse to open a window and hand over a peso or two.

Teeners learn to hug, love street kids even if they smell

Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dagupan City Pangasinan, June 15, 2006

[accessed 18 January 2017]

 “We did not know how they would react to us, if they would welcome our friendship or not. We were afraid some of our classmates would see us and wonder why we were mingling with dirty and smelly children,” they recalled of their first “assignment” to “socialize” with street children.

Leyte shows genuine concern for the youth

Philippine Information Agency PIA, Tacloban City, May 26, 2006

[accessed 14 October 2012]

[accessed 19 January 2017]

The genuine concern of the Tacloban City government on the plight of the street children and the Tacloban youth in general, is commendable. Last week, the City government through the City Social Welfare and Development Office headed by Ms. Liliosa Baltazar inaugurated the Social Development Center for street children of Tacloban City.

Dreams Do Come True…

Catherine Janz R. Sicoy, Kimro, Tacloban City, Leyte, May 24, 2006

[accessed 10 July 2011]

[accessed 19 January 2017]

Initially, 28 children, 5 of them girls will inhabit the Center. As part of the program, they will be provided with psychosocial and educational assistance to help them emerge as productive and better citizens of the society.

Kid's World In Zamboanga, The Poor's World!

Zamboanga Journal, 23 May 2006

[accessed 10 July 2011]

At the age of eight, Nul Jumadi is already working to help the family, selling cigarettes and candies on dangerous streets and sidewalks in Zamboanga City. Nul says helping his family is the best thing he does.

"I want to study of course, but I need to help my poor family. I only finished second grade and I don't know if I can go back to school again," he says, biting his lips and a little shaken and nervous about the interview.

We must stand against the death squads

Fr. Shay Cullen, Alto Broadcasting System-Chronicle Broadcasting Network ABS-CBN, 6/14/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 July 2011]

Many business people and civic leaders applaud the death squads.

As many as 247 deaths by execution were recorded up to December 2005, many of them youths and minors. Some were as young as 15.

UNICEF to make Cebu City streetkids’ program a model

Linette C. Ramos, Sun.Star, April 28, 2006

[accessed 18 January 2017]

Impressed with Cebu City’s initiatives for street children and minor offenders, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) wants to make the City’s program for children a model not only for other provinces but for other Asian countries as well.

Unicef officials found remarkable the coordination between the City Government and a network of nongovernment organizations working together for the cause of children in the city.

Colin Davis, Unicef senior programme officer, said they are impressed with the achievements of the Cebu City Task Force on Street Children (CCTFSC), particularly its non-formal education and health services for street kids.

At the Margins Street and Working Children in Cebu City, Philippines

Judith Pomm, European  University Degree in International Humanitarian Assistance, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Academic Year 2004/2005

[accessed 31 December 2016]

It is a situation of permanent crisis in which these children live for many years. The children lack food, shelter, education and medical care. Estimates on their life expectancy are low, as well as the chances for those who survive to make it out to a decent life.

Cross-cultural research suggests that poverty alone does not give sufficient explanation for the phenomenon of large numbers of street children in Cebu City, since cities in many countries equally poor as the Philippines do not have this problem.

In order to understand the forces that drive children onto the street andmake them – despite numerous projects targeted at them – stay there, this paper scrutinises the interests and  interactions of the different actors involved in the problem.

Information about Street Children - Philippines[DOC]

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for East and South East Asia on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 12-14 March 2003, Bangkok, Thailand

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 July 2011]

Definition and statistics: children who either live or work on the streets, spending a significant amount of time engaged in different occupations, with or without the care and protection of responsible adults. Age range 5-18. They come from families with at least 6 to 7 members. Majority live with at least one parent. An estimated 25% of these children live on the streets.

Philippines: street children, children at risk

Tantoco FG., Child Worldw. 1993;20(2-3):35-7

[accessed 10 July 2011]

[accessed 31 December 2016]

Almost 2 million of Manila's 2.5 million children younger than 15 years old live on or below the poverty line. 75,000 of these children live on the streets after having run away from home or being abandoned. They beg, steal, scavenge for food, and sell newspapers, cigarettes, and leis. About 20,000 of the street children prostitute themselves.

Jailed children are the victims of world poverty

Father Shay Cullen, Preda Foundation, 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 July 2011]

The street children imprisoned around the world are the most compelling evidence of the impact of poverty in the lives of the most vulnerable and the failure of governments to protect and help them. There are an estimate 20,000 children in prison in the Philippines through out a single year. They are usually falsely accused because they are homeless, vulnerable and cannot defend themselves. Some seal food form the market, are using forbidden solvents to ease the pains of hunger and loneliness. They are the victims of a unjust and cruel system of imprisonment that we are trying to change.

The jailing of children brings trauma and abuse

Father Shay Cullen, Preda Foundation, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 July 2011]

Argie was a frightened 13 year old and his and eyes filled with anxiety and longing when I arrived at he jail in Metro Manila. Other stretched out their arms and begged me to take them out of the hot poorly ventilated jail cell where they are overcrowded and only see daylight when they are taken out to their court hearing.

PREDA's Campaign Against the Shooting of Streetchildren  in Davao City

The Preda Child Advocacy Team, September 8, 1999

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 July 2011]

“Dear supporters of children's rights, I am appealing to you to support our protest against the murder of street children in Davao City, the Philippines by motorcycle riding death squads.”

Who are the Street Children?

ChildHope Asia

[accessed 10 July 2011]

[accessed 31 December 2016]

Street children are generally malnourished and anemic, many of them physically stunted.

Street children are prone to street fights and bullying from bigger youth, harassment from policemen, suspicion and arrest for petty crimes, abuse and torture from misguided authorities.

The Bahay Tuluyan and Its Junior Educators Program [PDF]

Maria. Veronica Caparas, Philippine Social Sciences Review (Vol. 55, Nos. 1-4, January-December 1998)

[accessed 14 October 2012]

[accessed 19 January 2017]

The crowded streets of Metro Manila are made more crowded with the presence of children who peddle candies, flowers and newspapers, or who wipe car windshields and jeepney passengers' shoes at red traffic lights, or who simply beg for alms.

The Philippines: Assisting street children

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

[accessed 11 July 2011]

[accessed 31 December 2016]

MSF operates a program targeting 200 out of an estimated 200,000 children who live on the streets of the capital, Manila.  The program addresses the medical and psychological problems encountered by these children, their families and their communities.  Among its activities, MSF gives medical and psychosocial care to street children who engage in commercial sex work as well as to victims of sexual, physical and psychological abuse. MSF focuses particularly on sexual and reproductive health, because sexually transmitted infections are a key health problem.

Virlanie Foundation - Testimonies of Children

Virlanie Foundation

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 11 July 2011]

JOSEPH’S TESTIMONY - In 2001, I found myself alone on the streets of Manila after escaping from my home in Laguna. I was selling mineral water on the street with some friends - we managed to scrape together some money this way. I slept so badly at night, in any shelter I could find - I would wake up often to make sure I wasn’t about to be robbed or hurt. This period of my life on the street forced me to grow up and changed me completely.

Street Kids Choir

December 2000

[accessed 11 July 2011]

Within the walls of an obscure welfare center in Pasay City lurk the young angelic voices of innocent children gathered from the rude streets of Metro Manila. These are the singing voices of the Street Kids Choir

Philippines to Rid Metro Manila of Street Children

COMTEX Newswire, 12 February 1997

[accessed 11 July 2011]

The campaign, called "Zero Street Children for Philippines 2000", targets 5,131 street kids and their families, and will involve not only government agencies but non-government organizations as well.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Street Children - Philippines",, [accessed <date>]