DSWD to issue IDs, create database of street dwellers

DSWD to issue IDs, create database of street dwellers
A homeless woman sleeps on the sidewalk of Mabini Street in downtown Cebu City. Mayor Michael Rama said he does not want to see them on the streets starting June 12, Independence Day.

MANILA, Philippines — Street dwellers and those in need of shelter will receive identification cards and undergo biometric registration under the newly launched "Oplan Pag-Abot" program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to help the agency monitor their status, the department chief said.

In an interview with Super Radyo dzBB on Wednesday, DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian said that those living in the streets need to be tracked by the agency to ensure that interventions for them are working.

Most of them also currently lack access to government-issued IDs, Gatchalian said.

“These people will have a hard time getting PhilSys because they don’t have a birth certificate. They don’t have any identification. Hopefully, the IDs issued by the DSWD will become the first step to getting those identifications later on,” Gatchalian added.

Gatchalian clarified that the DSWD-issued IDs will not be considered "government-issued" and cannot be used for official transactions.

However, these DSWD-issued IDs can be used to validate the information of individuals requesting regular government IDs, Gatchalian said.

DSWD's plan to create a database of people living in the streets also aims to prevent their exploitation, Gatchalian added.

The streets are “not a suitable place for families, especially for women and youth who may be exposed to exploitation,” Gatchalian added.

Under the program, the DSWD will provide street dwellers with the “necessary interventions” such as livelihood opportunities and shelter assistance to help them get off the road, Gatchalian said during the program’s launch on Monday. — Cristina Chi

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