(Photo courtesy of Ian Capoquian)
A teenager studying in the streets is going viral after a netizen shared a photo of him on Facebook. Eddie Aquino, a grade 9 student was seen by Ian Capoquian near the Central station of LRT Line 1.
According to Capoquian’s post, the 16-year-old boy’s parents are separated. His mother has left them for a new family while his father is unable to work due to his age. Hence, Eddie spends his time on the streets to collect pennies for survival.
In the viral photo, Eddie is seen writing while surrounded by an open file case, toy guns and his slippers but what attracted most people is his trusty companion sitting beside him. While Eddie studies, a dog named Black Jack approaches people holding a tiny bucket in its mouth. Black Jack is a dog Eddie’s father used to train.
Eddie’s opened file case reads: “Donation lang po para kay Black Jack’s tricks. Maraming salamat po.”
The netizen who posted the photo narrated to The Filipino Times how seeing Eddie studying in the middle of the traffic and smoke inspired him.
“He has to endure the coldness of the street, and the harsh eyes of the society,” lamented Capoquian who described Eddie as a humble and hardworking young man.
“Si Eddie po, parang isang tipikal na bata pero ang kakaiba sa kanya, sobrang bait nya, (at) masipag,” Capoquian said.
Despite spending his day on the streets, Eddie’s teacher said that he does not miss a class.
According to Capoquian, Eddie has an older sister who is a person with special abilities and a brother who is a scholar at a university around the area and drives a trike to earn money.
The biggest problem for Eddie now is that he has no legal documents, his birth was not registered at the National Statistical Office.
“There was a time na nagpunta si Eddie sa Manila City Hall para ayusin sana ang documents nya pero hindi po nya naayos. One thing is that 14 years old lang sya at that time at wala naman siyang pera at masyadong kaalaman tungkol sa pag-aayos ng legal documents,” Capoquian told TFT.
While many netizens are offering to sponsor the kid’s education, most of them are in exchange of labor or would take away Eddie from his family.
As of posting, Capoquian is working with social workers to process Eddie’s legal documents and secure a better future.
“I want him to study inside a room, a well-ventilated space, with proper lighting and proper learning materials,” he wrote.