Conversation: Were #streetkids hidden from Pope Francis?
MANILA, Philippines — On January 16, in an inspiring private meeting, we saw street children from the Tulay ng Kabataan hugging the Pope. A 12-year-old girl, a former street child, also saddened Filipinos when she asked Pope Francis why children suffer. The Department of Social Welfare and Development also share how former street children were invited to perform before the Pope.
However, about 100 street families missed that experience. They were sent to a Batangas resort during the papal visit, Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman confirmed on Wednesday, January 21.
“That effort was part of registering them as partner beneficiaries of MCCT. It’s a continuing process," Soliman told Rappler over a phone interview. MCCT or the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer program is an expansion of the department’s flagship poverty alleviation strategy, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
"It’s not to keep them out of sight, but this is an LGU (local government unit) effort to take them from the areas which were identified where people will be mostly congregating. For safety. They didn't want these families to be in those areas.”
"But no, it was not for keeping them out of sight. We do reach out to families even before the announcement of the pope coming," she added.
Critics, however, pointed out that the government has been trying to “hide” poverty whenever foreign delegates like the pope visit the country.
The issue was first reported by Bahay Tuluyan, a non-governmental organization (NGO) which also brought the media’s attention to the poor conditions of street children staying in a government-run center in Manila.
What do you think? Was the outing an attempt to keep the street families away from Pope Francis?
Rappler will be holding a conversation on Twitter and Viber; let's talks about the street kids and street families.
Join us at 5pm, today, January 21. Share your thoughts and suggestions using the hashtag #streetkids or tag our offical Twitter accounts @moveph and @rapplerdotcom.
Bahay Tuluyan, DSWD, and other NGOs will be joining the online conversation. – Rappler.com