City welfare office goes full swing on child rescue

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Monday, June 23, 2014

WITH the growing number of street kids rescued, the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) of Cagayan de Oro is on full swing of its child-rescue campaign.

Teodoro Sabuga-a, officer-in-charge of the CSWD, ordered a 24-hour-a-day monitoring of streets by adding one more shifting team to work during daytime.

CSWD introduced the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift, in addition to the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. time schedules, since, according to Sabuga-a, street kids sometimes alter their routine where they hang out.


"The problem is we seem to play hide and seek. The street children know our team's service [vehicle] so they have changed their locations during nighttime. So what we do, we added shift on daytime," he told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Sunday.

On June 19 alone, there were 10 minors who were rescued by the CSWD and are now undergoing counseling. The city’s social workers still have to locate the parents of these minors for turnover.

From December 2013 to May this year, CWSD was able to rescue 139 street kids. Most of them are beggars and solvent-sniffing boys.

Some of these street kids frequented CSWD's shelter facility but Sabuga-a emphasized that their continuing goal is “to rescue these kids from the streets.”

“That won't stop us from pursuing our goal. We have to let them [kids] realize that streets are risky for them,” he added.

Parents and barangay officials’ role

Although the saturation drive has been at its height, CWSD is calling parents and barangay officials to take part in the continuing battle of the City Government to take wandering kids off the streets.

Stella Ferrarez, head of the city’s center and institution division, said the family and barangay officials are important to prevent street kids from involving themselves in criminal activities.

"We have to call the attention of every family and barangay. To attain a child-friendly place, it should start within the family and barangay because they are in the front line in battling against this. It will not work if only the city government will take action," Ferrarez told this paper by phone.

In the newly-enacted Parental Authority Ordinance, parents can be penalized over negligence.

Under the ordinance, a parent must render community service if his/her child will be rescued by the CSWD twice.

"The insight of this ordinance is very important as it will hold parents accountable over their children," she said.

Sabuga-a furthered that parents can be blamed why there's a lot of street children roaming along the streets.

Efficient curfew

Sabuga-a, also the executive director of the City Peace Development and Security Council (CPDSC), said there are 20 villages in the city which are now implementing the new 10 p.m. curfew.

For underage violators, Sabuga-a said they have prepared a street education (SED) building in Cogon market area aside from their shelter facility in barangays Lumbia and Carmen.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 23, 2014.

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