How a tweet can save a Pinoy street kid

·Kim Arveen Patria

Filipinos online are urged to help save street kids in Metro Manila, as the government launched a social media campaign which allows netizens to report mendicant or vagrant children.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has recently created a new Twitter account @savestreetkids in an bid to widen its rehabilitation of homeless children.

"Ikaw ba ay may nakitang bata na namamalimos at natutulog sa lansangan? Ipagbigay alam agad ito sa amin sa DSWD Twitter (Have you seen a child begging of selling in the street? Let DSWD know via Twitter)," the government agency said in a post.

Tweeps are asked to follow this format when sending reports: save a street kid/complete name of street or intersection/nearest landmark/Metro Manila City/time of sighting.

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The DSWD account has over 700 followers as of Tuesday. It has also posted nearly 800 tweets, mostly acknowledging reports from netizens.

A Twitter user posted: "@savestreetkids please look into pasay rd. cor waltermart intersection. There are streetkids chasing jeeps along the street around 1pm"

"ty for the info. we will inform the concerned unit for appropriate action," DSWD replied.

Some netizens also seek updates on reported street cases. "@savestreetkids Any update of children referred to you this morning?" a Twitter user asked.

DSWD replied: "we will let you know right after the reach out operation."

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The campaign has been launched as DSWD expects a surge in the number of children in Metro Manila streets during the holiday season.

Earlier dentified as areas where street children are highly concentrated are Roxas Boulevard in Manila; Kalayaan Road, Barangay E. Rodriguez and Quezon Avenue in Quezon City; Greenhills, Ortigas in San Juan City; Kapasigan in Pasig City; Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City; Balintawak area in Caloocan City; NAIA Road in Parañaque City; and Madrigal Avenue, Alabang in Muntinlupa City.

The social media campaign is also being implemented alongside the rollout of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program for 900 street families in Metro Manila.

Families under the program will receive monthly cash grants for health and education, provided that they comply with the modified conditions.

These include ensuring that children do not stay on the streets and instead attend modes of learning such as school or alternative programs, as well as bringing kids to health centers for immunizations and checkups.

Beneficiaries should also participate in counseling and guidance sessions and must stay in designated shelters after identification.

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