By PHOEBE GWANGILO
Parents of street children in Port Moresby were told of family values and responsibilities by a ministry of the Catholic Arch Diocese of Port Moresby.
“Under the Lukautim Pikinini Act, parents are responsible to provide shelter for their children,” Clement Waikei, of the Office of Street Ministry (OSM), told the parents yesterday during the International Day of Family
“The law of this country prohibits children from sleeping on the streets,” he said.
He said children’s safety and welfare were protected by the laws of this country such as Family Protection Act, Lukautim Pikinini Act and others.
Waikei told them to raise children in a safe and secure environment with good discipline so that their children would become good citizens.
He urged parents to be responsible in looking after their children and not to allow them to wander off.
“When we neglect our children we contribute to the increasing number of children on the streets,” Waikei said.
He told the children that they too had to be responsible for their education because the future of PNG is in their hands.
Another speaker from OSM, Cecilia Hesaboda, told the parents about family and Christian values.
“A family that lives together, prays together, suffers together and celebrates together,” she said.
Parents of children under the age of 14 seen wondering around as orphans or charged under Juvenile Acts, can be charged under the Criminal Act of section 362, Constitutional Law Reforms Committee Secretary Dr Eric Kwa said.
“We have laws there to charge parents who are neglecting their responsibilities, resulting in their children being involved in crimes or wondering around,” Kwa said following ABC reports published on Monday about homeless children in Port Moresby sleeping in toilets.
Section 362 of the Criminal code Act states: “A parent of a child under the age of 14 years who is able to maintain the child and who wilfully and without lawful or reasonable cause desserts the child and leaves it without means of support is guilty of a misdemeanour. Penalty is imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.”
By PHOEBE GWANGILO