“‘MIGO mi sa polis. Iya ko gitupihan (The cop is a friend. He gave me a haircut).”
So said the six-year-old Kylle (not his real name), who was among the 200 street children who benefited from the “Kalingawan alang sa Libud-Suroy” program.
It is an initiative of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 and other partner-agencies dedicated to homeless children in the region.
Cebu City Police Office Director Gemma Vinluan said the activity aims to bring street children closer to the police.
“We want to get their confidence and trust because they need not fear the police. These children, although they are homeless, they are considered victims. They have to feel that we have their backs; we are giving them protection,” she said.
Kylle and other children were given free hair cuts, baths, meals and school supplies. They also enjoyed parlor games and a magic show.
PRO 7 Director Debold Sinas said even children of police personnel joined the event.
“Per station in the cities and Cebu Province were tasked to bring at least five street children. We have asked permission from these children’s parents. We also invited the children of our police for them to be able to relate to street children,” he said.
“They have to understand that it is actually hard if your parents are homeless. So that they could also understand if there are times that their parents have to be away from them for work,” he added.
Among the beneficiaries were 38 children from Tanke, Talisay City. Twenty of them were children whose parents had been nabbed during drug busts.
“We have a program called ‘Kuya mo ang police’ to monitor the children of our arrested persons. Since most of those whose parents are arrested live with their relatives, we are still making sure that they are safe and that they are not being used as couriers,” Sinas said.
The Office of the President for the Visayas, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Customs and the Department of Social Welfare and Services, also supported the event. (WBS)