Issues - The Philippines

on Thursday, 19 September 2013. Posted in HIV/AIDs & other diseases, Extreme Poverty, Homelessness, Human Trafficking, Natural Disasters, Orphans, Slave Labour & Exploitation, The Philippines

In the cities, neglected and abandoned children find themselves in the streets fending for themselves and vulnerable to the various evils of the urban jungle such as drug addiction, crimes and commercial sexual exploitation. Children who are neglected or abandoned are easy prey not only to accidents but to commercial sexual exploitation, drugs, crime and unwanted pregnancies.   Incidents of child abuse is still on the rise especially child sexual abuse. Also on the rise are reports of physical abuse and maltreatment of children. According to the statistics, there are approximately 40,000 to 50,000 street children of all categories in Metro Manila.  Studies conducted reveal that the number of street children range from 2 to 3% of the child and adult population.  The national project on street children estimated the number of street children at over 220,000 in 65 major cities as of 1993.   There are now about 350 government and non government agencies that are responding to street children and their families.  The government has given special focus on helping street children with programs focused on health and nutrition, educational assistance, parenting sessions, livelihood and skills training, residential care, foster care and adoption. However for as long as there would be squatter colonies sprouting in urban areas and for as long as there are not enough jobs, street children will continue to dominate in the streets.   In a 1993 survey of households, some 16% of households surveyed have children below 12 years old who are left unattended with no supervising adult in the house. This translates to one in six households where children are without adult supervision.  

Current efforts to fight child abuse are focused on tri-media campaign, information dissemination, raising awareness in the family, school and community of the evils of child abuse.  There is also a need for a more systematic effort at helping victims deal with the psychological trauma and scars of child abuse through proper psychological counseling programs that target not only the abused child but the family as well.

Background

The growing number of street children found in urban areas has long been a concern of the government.  Continuing efforts by the government and non-government agencies to provide services for both the street children and their families never seem to be enough. Street children are the largest number of vulnerable and exploited children in many countries with ages ranging from 5-18 years old. These children ply the sidewalks in a desperate attempt to eke out a living.   The Salvation Army Joyville Children’s Home is a rehabilitation center located in Pantay Road, Barangay Bukal, Tanay, Rizal, South of Manila. It is an ideal place for rehabilitation program because it is far from the city and the facilities offer better opportunities for wholesome development.     The major issues facing the children of this region are:-      Hunger & Poverty
    Diseases
    Natural Disasters
    Exploitation & Discrimination.

Hunger & Poverty   

In Metro Manila, where population growth, urbanization and migration continuously increase, children are often forced by circumstances to help their families earn a living. Most street children are of poor parents who have migrated from rural areas to find better job opportunities in the city, but lack of education renders them ill-equipped to earn or survive in the city.  Current population projections for July 2007 are 91 077 287 people, of this 31 458 591 or 34.5 % are children.    Statistics from the World Fact book, note that the percentage of the population of the Philippines who are living below the poverty line is 40%. The unemployment rate from the same source states that as at 2006 the rate is 7.9% of the population or approximately 7 200 000 persons. For comparison that is 1/3 of the Australian Population. The Philippines public debt is estimated to be 61.6% of their GDP. (1)   (1) Ref: (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/)  

Diseases

“Every minute of every day, a child under the age of 15 becomes infected with HIV”.  (1) Many diseases affect the children of the Philippines the most prevalent are HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Dengue Fever, Malaria and Bacterial Diarrhoea.   Of the 15 years to 49 years age group there are believed to be 7 195 105 people affected with the HIV/Aids virus. (2)  

(1) Ref:  http://www.unaids.org/en/HIV_data (2) Ref:  http://www.unaids.org/en/HIV_data  

Natural Disasters

The Philippines lie within the typhoon belt for this region. There is an average of 15 typhoons per year and 5-6 cyclonic storms affect this area as well. Mudslides caused by the uncontrolled deforestation of the area also contribute to the natural disasters of the area along with landslides, active volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. (1)  

(1) Ref:  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

Exploitation & Discrimination  

    Child sexual abuse remains controversial, the most concealed and under reported form of sexual abuse. To date, reported cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children are increasing. In 1997, the reported cases of child abuse received by the Department of Social Welfare and Development were 4,394 - 53% of which were sexually abused.  The real extent of this problem is greater than what statistics show because of a number of unreported cases.
      Accurate figures for trafficking are difficult to obtain due to the illicit & illegal nature of the practice.
    It was estimated by the UN in 2003, that over 1 million children are being illegally involved around the world in Child Sex Trafficking.  It is more than likely this figure has increased according to past data information.  Of this number one third are believed to come from the Asia region and a significant majority of these are young girls between the ages of 12 – 18 years old.”
    Prostitution exists in nearly all the Countries of the World… “It is exacerbated by economic & social upheaval, extreme poverty, deprivation and excessive consumerism”… (2)
    You can, for $ 1.00 (AUS) buy a 12 year old girl off the street and own her for the night; she will be yours to do whatever you want.
    The demand for domestic servants, cheap labour, adoption, prostitution, and pornography are what drives the illegal practices of human trafficking. (1)
    The street child works under the heat of the sun or in the dark of the night from 6 to 16 hours, seven days a week, often in a combination of “occupations” each considered their only means to survive. Street children have a bleak present and an uncertain future.  Life in the street is a constant struggle to overcome the various negative elements that threaten to overtake and destroy the hope for survival.  In the cities, neglected and abandoned children find themselves in the streets fending for themselves and vulnerable to the various evils of the urban jungle such as drug addiction, crimes and commercial sexual exploitation. Children who are neglected or abandoned are easy prey not only to accidents but to commercial sexual exploitation, drugs, crime and unwanted pregnancies.

  (1) Ref:  http://www.childwise.net. (2) Ref:  http://www.crin.org/themes/ViewTheme.

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