DSWD to foster families: Legalize 'adoption' of typhoon orphans
MANILA, Philippines (Updated) – Children orphaned by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) deserve to get the proper psychological and material support needed for their recovery, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman said on Friday, January 3.
With this, Soliman is asking foster families or foster parents to register under the tracking program started by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), along with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in December.
"This is for the best interest of the child. It's important for him to know his background not just for his psyche but also his physical state," Soliman said in a press conference in Quezon City.
DSWD found that some typhoon survivors have also taken it upon themselves to "adopt" some typhoon orphans in their localities. As of December 20, the DSWD has monitored 75 typhoon orphans in Leyte. Official numbers show at least 6,166 individuals died from Yolanda as of January 3.
The kids' situation will be monitored for at least one or two years, Soliman said.
In 2012, DSWD released the implementing rules and regulations of the Foster Care Act, which includes qualifications for those interested in being a foster parent or providing temporary care to kids without parents. It also includes details on how to permanently adopt orphaned children.
In light of concerns regarding human trafficking in disaster-stricken areas, Soliman warned survivors to be cautious about who to trust.
"Even if they are your distant relatives, don't believe them right away," Soliman said. "You have to scrutinize them first because there are many who have ill intentions."
In a Devex report, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, convenor of the Philippines’ Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking and Manila’s auxiliary bishop said there have been cases of trafficking of typhoon survivors desperate to find work after losing their possessions.
But DSWD said Friday there have been no confirmed reports so far.
On the ground, there's a "very intense advocacy" against human trafficking in Leyte, Soliman said.
In 2013, there were 916 reported cases of human trafficking in the Philippines.- Rappler.com