UNLIKE most children, eight-year-old Angelo (real name withheld) does not need an alarm clock to wake up every day.
The bustling cars, scorching heat and his gurgling stomach are enough to get the frail boy up from his tattered carton mat.
There is no bathroom to wash off the traces of his slumber, let alone a kitchen to calm his stomach’s rumbling.
Angelo, though, is in no rush to get ready. He doesn’t go to school and will probably spend the next 12 hours or so loitering in the streets.
“Magduwa lang mi sa akong mga ‘migo sa sidewalk. Wa man mi laing mabuhat. Maligsan nya pud mi og manlimos mi kay gamay kaayo mi (My friends and I usually just play on the sidewalks because we don’t have anything else to do. We don’t beg because were too small and we might get run over),” he told SunStar Cebu.
Angelo and his friends will soon have somewhere to go to to spend their days in a more productive way.
A four-story activity center aimed at keeping street children from loitering is set to rise three months from now at the St. Joseph Parish Church in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday led the groundbreaking for the P60-million Abtanan sa Kaluoy, an activity center that will provide feeding and educational programs for street children, among others.
“We have been waiting for this for a long time. We’re urging everyone who are compassionate about helping our children to join us as we create programs that will lead these street kids to a better future. We want them to become good assets of society,” Palma said.
The budget for the center came from the profits earned by the Archdiocese during the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in January 2016.
The prelate said Abtanan will not only involve the entire archdiocese, but also government officials and nongovernment organizations.
Once the center is finished, Palma said, on-the-job trainees will handle the feeding and educational programs for the children, until a fixed administrative board is formed.
Also present during the ceremony were Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, Mabolo Barangay Captain Reynaldo Ompoc, Dilaab Foundation president Mayen Tan and Fr. Carmelo Diola.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 18, 2017.
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