‘NO CHILD WILL BE LEFT BEHIND’: Iloilo NGO calls on gov’t, private sector  not to forget street children this Christmas

A network of public and private sectors gathered together to call for the protection of the rights of children in street situations (CiSS) so that “no child will be left behind.”

In celebration of the Children’s Month held on November 24, the Iloilo-based LifeBank Foundation and the Council for Welfare of Children, the key government office mandated to coordinate efforts to protect the Filipino Children, launched a four-part video animation series on CiSS and a compendium of NGOs that will highlight the work of some very dedicated groups for CiSS pre- and during the pandemic in Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao.

“We felt it was important for Visayas and Mindanao to come up with a support network for CiSS organizations and now we have 23 member organizations from the zone,” said Dr. Vincente Perlas, CEO and President of LifeBank Foundation.

Just before the pandemic in early 2020, a Social Weather Stations study commissioned by the LifeBank Foundation found out that there were atleast 369,000 CiSS in the country.

While the CiSS groups fear that the number could balloon across the country because of the repercussions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, they have committed to continue servicing the children especially those in need.

Norma Chan-Pongan, the Executive Director of the LifeBank Foundation’s Street Children NGO Support Project (SNSP), said “The government, the private sector and other development sectors were also very quick on their feet to mount interventions or divert efforts to address this more urgent situations on time.”

“The local government units found different ways to approach a multi-prong predicament as the country grapples with the effects of the global health crisis. Most of all partner NGOs have remained steadfast and uncompromising and its delivery of programs and services,” Chan-Pongan added.

The new CiSS NGO compendium published by LifeBank Foundation found out the pandemic birthed among NGOs and some LGUS the adaptive practices amid a global health crisis that mostly centered on the provision of health, sanitation, shelter, and educational needs; values formation and spiritual development; skills development and livelihood training; emergency assistance; and mental health services.

Gerry van der Linden, Chairman of LifeBank Foundation, said the SNSP is now in the second phase with particular support in capacity building of partner institutions and livelihood support for the partner families.

“The essence of this project is building resilient communities with short-term support to deal with the pandemic, but then long-term support is to build stronger communities,” said Linden.

“Lifebank continues to support initiatives to build resilient communities especially among sector of poorest of the poor,” Linden added.