Ex-street kid to public: We can change too | Inquirer News
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Ex-street kid to public: We can change too

By: - Reporter / @ConsINQ
/ 05:47 PM June 06, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — A former street “rugby boy” has asked the public to stop stereotyping street children and youth offenders as criminals, instead give them the chance to reform saying they too can change.

“Dapat ‘yun yung makita nila hindi yung gawa lang kayo nang gawa ng batas isipin nila kung paano nila matutulungan kasi pag-inahon mo yan gagawa ba ng masama yan? Ano ang magagawa niyan? Katulad ko ngayon, ibinalik ko ang natutunan ko ngayon at ang ginawa sakin nito,” Simeon Ulanday, from children rights foundation Bahay Tuluyan, said in a press briefing in Quezon City on Thursday.

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Before, Ulanday was a kid involved in drugs and crime, but now, with the assistance of Bahay Tuluyan, he helps out in non-government organizations.

“Dati akong rugby boy, solvent boy [pero] ngayon isa na po ako sa nire-respeto nila [street children] bilang kuya at nakakatanda,” Ulanday said.

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“Ngayon po nagtatrabaho po ako sa Recto kapag walang pasok nagvovolunteer pa rin ako… Sa mga [non-government organizations],”  he added.

Ulanday cited that Bahay Tuluyan helped him undergo training on children rights and paralegal studies.

Ulanday also said he grew tired of committing crimes and using drugs, noting that other children in conflict with the law can change for the better if they can be guided properly by adults.

“‘Yung mindset, kusa ako nagsabi ako ayoko ng ganitong buhay kasi nakakasawa din. Maiisip at maiisip nila yun kailangan natin silang gabayan kasi gulong gulo din sila,” he said.

“Sana po makatulong tayo sa kanila wag natin silang ilubog. Pagmamahal at gabay ang kailangan nila,” he added.

Lawyer Grace Agcaoili, Child Protection specialist at UNICEF East Asia and Pacific, said a child’s age cannot equate on one’s discernment.

“Ang edad at discernment hindi yan exact science… dahil ang bata ay nagkaroon ng iba’t ibang pamilya at karanasan. Hindi automatic na sa sixteenth birthday bigla na lang nagkaroon ng kalinawagan alam niya na ang mali o hindi,” Acgaoili said during the press conference.

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Agcaoili also lamented public’s description of street children as criminals, saying people should be mindful of children’s past.

“Ang pagkakamali natin pag-nagkaroon ng konting pagkakamali minsan nga hindi pagkakamali nasa lansangan lang sila pero inistereotype at nile-label na criminal. Hindi natin tinatanong kung bakit sila nasa lansangan,” she said.

“Tinignan ba natin kung meron silang guidance sa ating pamilya? Ginagabayan ba sila? Bakit sila nasa lansangan? Dapat tinitingnan yung kanilang karanasan,” she added. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)

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TAGS: Bahay Tuluyan, child protection, Local news, Philippine news update, street kids
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