MANILA — Any effort to hide street children from Pope Francis failed, according to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle on Monday.
This, according to him is because, Pope Francis was able to meet and interact with the poor children during his visit to the Philippines.
“If there was any intention to hide the street children from him, they were not hidden. We were able to bring the Holy Father to the street children being sheltered in one house and they were able to interact,” said Tagle, who was in Bacolod on Monday.
The statement is following earlier reports of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD’s) move to cart-off hundreds of street children to a plush resort in Batangas during the Pope’s visit.
“That’s what we heard. I think the department in charge is claiming it was not the real reason for the outing. We should give them an opportunity to explain. Even Malacañang has agreed to conduct an inquiry into that so we will wait for the result of the inquiry,” he said.
Tagle also stressed the need to respond to the problem and look for concrete solution.
“But even without the Pope’s visit, we should really look for ways to respond to this situation, especially in the metropolitan areas where it’s not just street children you see but street families. A more permanent solution, not just cosmetics is needed,” he said.
“This calls for a concerted effort. I know the problem is very complex with no easy solution. We need the collaboration of everyone—people in government, business, education, nongovernment organizations, people’s organizations, faith-based communities. We can all come together to contribute a bit of our wisdom and our efforts to it,” Tagle said.
Tagle, a graduate of Philosphy from the Ateneo de Manila University was conferred with the Fides Award, the highest Lasallian recognition awarded to individuals or institutions that has promoted quality Christian education.
“It is not just for me. This is really for many men and women who are trying their best in quiet ways to be true to their faith and to translate their faith into actions of love, justice and peace. In the name of many people who are not recognized and not known, I gladly accept this Fides Award,” he said.