'Frederico' found home: Join the Nov 10 peaceful day of action
MANILA, Philippines — "Frederico" found home.
Frederico found home in the hearts of the Filipino public.
The next step would be to actually do something to prevent other children from becoming the next Frederico.
"Frederico" is a street child who was rescued from the streets and placed under the custody of the Reception and Action Center (RAC), a temporary shelter run by the Manila local government. His story revealed not only the problems within RAC as an institution, but also the vicious cycle of stigma and neglect experienced by street children.
Within 3 days, the article has been shared over 9,000 times on Facebook, with netizens expressing disgust, sympathy, anger, and a thirst for change.
“Upon being confronted with the sight of Frederico in the condition he was in in the photo, Bahay Tuluyan decided that, whatever risks it faces in releasing this photo, it is morally obliged to do so,” said Catherine Scerri of Bahay Tuluyan, the non-governmental organization (NGO) which posted the photo on Facebook.
Scerri added that Frederico is now doing much better. He is receiving medical help and has started eating properly again. He is under the care of Bahay Tuluyan and a partner NGO. (READ: A social worker responds to Manila's care of street kids)
Netizens called on the government, from the local up to the national level, to own up to its obligations to the public.
Others shared their own experiences inside RAC as volunteers, agreeing with what the children and NGOs have reported. They also called attention to the poor living conditions of homeless elderly Filipinos inside RAC.
Some netizens challenged RAC to be more transparent with its budget and operations.
Aside from questioning the authorities, many netizens also urged fellow Filipinos — especially parents — to act on their own.
Call for action
On November 10, NGOs and advocates led by Bahay Tuluyan will hold a “peaceful day of action” outside the Manila City Hall, starting at 7am.
Bahay Tuluyan encourages the public to join hands in pressuring the local authorities to reform RAC.
Those who want to donate in cash or in kind, or wish to volunteer may coordinate directly with Bahay Tuluyan.
We have found Frederico, we have heard his story.
Frederico, however, is not alone. Many other Filipino children are just like him — whether out wandering in the streets or in the halls of institutions like RAC.
The "Fredericos" of our country are waiting, they have been waiting for a long time. We have made noise, now we must sustain the momentum. It is time for us to convert our words into collective action. Let us move together.
See you on November 10. — Rappler.com
For those who want to know more about the November 10 peaceful day of action, you may contact Bahay Tuluyan at +63 2 254 0213 and email@example.com. You may also coordinate with them to donate, volunteer, or help with the cause.
You can sign the change.org petition "Upgrade or Close RAC" here.