Cops surprise street dwellers on V-Day
Mae Clydyl L. Avila (The Freeman) - February 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Mobile Force Company surprised street dwellers with free meals, groceries, cash and a sack of rice on Valentine's Day.


Rosalina Perales, 55, and her husband, Sixto, were in the streets in Osmeña Boulevard when a police car arrived.

Fearing that they might be arrested, other street dwellers ran but Rosalina and Sixto stayed behind.

They cooperated with cops and were taken near Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño Church together with another couple, Jopel Manlapit and Catherine Diagbel, as well as their children.

They did not know that they were in for a surprise.

"First time ni nga nahitabo ni nako. Nahadlok ko una kay wala ko kahibaw unsa ang buhaton nila. Pero pag-abot namo nasurpresa na lang ko. Nagpasalamat gyud ko," Rosalina said.  (This is the first time for me to experience this. At first I was scared but later on, I was surprised.  I’m really very grateful.)

Holding red wine glasses, the couples exchanged promises.

Sixto recalled that he courted Rosalina when she was 14.  He sees her going to Carbon Market every dawn while he worked as a security guard.

It took him more than a month before she said yes.

When Rosalina turned 20, they lived together. They got married in 1997.

And 22 years after, they were blessed with 12 children, the youngest is five months old and the eldest is 20.

Chief Inspector Chuck Barandog, head of CMFC, said the activity was for street couples to be reminded that they can also celebrate the love month.

"We do away with traditional dating couples.  These people have forgotten that it’s Valentine’s Day. We want to let them feel that we care for them. We are happy that we made them happy," Barandog said.

He added most street dwellers fear cops and the celebration was a way of reaching out.

CMFC Advisory Council Chairman and lawyer Dodelon Sabijon said it is also a way to improve the public's impression on the image of the police.

"Instead of celebrating our Valentine's Day in hotels or other special places, we devote our time and energy on the street families so that they can also experience celebrating Valentine's Day,"  Sabijon said. — MBG (FREEMAN)

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