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City ‘rescues’ street dwellers

May B. Miasco/NSA (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Dr. Ester Concha, head of the city’s Department of Social Welfare and Services, said they are stepping up their rescue operations on these homeless families, including their children, to keep them out of the roads at night.

“Ang amo lang nga dili sila matulog sa dalan,” said Concha, who is also member of the City Anti-Mendicancy Board.

The presence of street dwellers and mendicants was a concern raised by city officials and church authorities in a consultative meeting in December 2015 for the International Eucharistic Congress.

Fr. Wendell Balbuena, however, countered insinuations that they are cleaning the streets of these people purposely for the IEC, saying they are helping the city in its long-term plan for street dwellers.

Reach out operations, Concha clarified, is part of the long-term program for street dwellers and indigenous individuals approved between the city government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development-7 last November.

Those rescued in last Monday’s operation were housed temporarily at the Compania Maritima building. Social workers then consult them and see where the city could intervene in terms of assistance.

As of yesterday morning, Concha said at least two families had been returned in Barangay Kamputhaw and another two in Barangay Labangon. A minor was also taken back to his family in Barangay Carreta.

Social workers are also assessing if these families could avail of the city’s “Balik Probinsya Program.” Concha said two persons have expressed intent to go back to their hometown in Toledo City.

She said they have collaborated with the provincial government since some of those rescued are from the neighboring towns and cities.

“Ang uban (nga nahibilin) diha, estoryahon pa ‘na sila kun unsa ilang ganahan ug unsa atong matabang,” said Concha.

The city faces challenges in sustaining the program on street dwellers since most of those rescued would soon just return to the streets.

In support to the city’s "Comprehensive Program for Street Children, Street Families and Indigenous People," DSWD-7 has earmarked over P3.6 million for the project. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ANG BALIK PROBINSYA PROGRAM BARANGAY CARRETA BARANGAY KAMPUTHAW BARANGAY LABANGON CITY CITY ANTI-MENDICANCY BOARD COMPANIA MARITIMA COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT
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