DAVAO CITY – Poor girl children stay at home at take a rest instead of buying medicines, says a research by women and children advocate Talikala Incorporated.

According to the research “The Well-being of the Girl Child”, conducted by Talikala  last August in seven barangays in Davao City, majority of surveyed girls who have been sick in the last six months opted to “magpuyo sa balay (stay at home) or stay at home and not take a bath”, instead of taking medicines.

The survey data presented by Talikala showed that 42 out of 81 or 52% of children aged 7-10 and 59 out of 110 or 54% of children aged 10-17 opted to stay at home.

The research has a total of 384 respondents, 129 of which are from the 7-9 years-old age group and the remaining 255 are from the 10-17 years-old age group.

The research’s Confidence Interval is 95% and the Confidence Level is 0.5%, according to Jeanette Laurel-Ampog,   executive director of Talikala.

As to the sample size, Ampog said they multiplied the current population by 2.5 percent per year for four years (2010 data of the city’s growth rate is 2.5%).

Laurel-Ampog said their respondents are from seven Davao City barangays which have been Talikala’s partners for their services since 2010.

The said barangays are: Barangay Lapu-lapu, Matina Aplaya, Sasa, 5-A, Mintal, 76-A and Leon Garcia.

Ampog said the surveyed families of the children belong to the low income group and only about five percent are “middle class.”

“The children, according to the research, would rather help their parents in their livelihood than demand medicines and other expenses,” said Ampog.

Arve Bañez, Talikala’s consultant on their research, said the girls verbalize that they wan to help bring in “konsumo (daily consumption)” for the family.

Almost all or 110 out of 129 girls from the 7-9 age group, say they are helping with their families’ livelihood, 31 of them help sell kakanin (home-made delicacies) and yema (milk candy).

Meanwhile, out of the 255 girl respondents from the 10-17 age group, 106 say they are helping with their families’ livelihood, 32 of them help sell kakanin.

With regards to education, 79% of respondents from the 7-9 age group say they want to finish college, while 92% of the 10-17 age group say also want to finish college.

Those who want to finish college say they need “moral support” more than “money”  or “books.”

“This may actually mean that the parents are very preoccupied in their livelihood,” said Ampog.

Meanwhile, some children age 10-17 years old have resorted to having “mers” to increase their daily allowance for school.

Bañez said that some of their respondents have a P300 school allowance per day, which they get from having “mers”, slang for “customers” of prostituted children.

Some of the children who reach the same amount but do not engage in “mers” are married and their monetary allowances are given by their husbands.

Ampog said that while many of prostituted women and children are also victims of abuse, she said that “as the economic crisis deepens, the number of the victims of prostitution continue to rise.”

Bañez also said that 36 respondents of the age group 7-9 year-olds said they have experienced sexual abuse in different forms.

Atty. Leah Librado-Yap, chairperson of the Committee of Women, Children and Family Relations who was present during the presentation, asked Bañez on who were the perpetrators of the sexual abuse.

Bañez said that most are the children’s kin.

“According to the data, children are not anymore abused in the streets like most of us believe but the abuse happens inside the home,” said Bañez.

Bañez, in the presentation of the research, said out of 255 respondents of the 10-17 years-old age range, fourty four percent of it have either food or money for allowance.

Those who have money as allowance said they only have P10 per day, largely given by their mothers.

Bañez said that in relation to their allowance, most girls spend it on food.

But in the context of having meals in their families, Bañez said that their data showed only 75 out of 129 in the 7-9 age group and only 156 out of 255 of the 10-17 age group regularly eat three meals everyday because their parents cannot afford it.

Bañez also said that majority of the children live in or near “canals”, “dagat (sea)” or “sapa (river)” and that their houses have only one room.

Meanwhile, Librado-Yap said the while data from research is “useful” to legislators and organizations which help children, it is “also a stark reminder that the system failed to eliminate poverty.”

“The data can help us see in more details how, as always, issues of children like prostitution is traceable to poverty,” said Librado-Yap. (davaotoday.com)

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