Streets to be cleared of homeless individuals
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - September 28, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said that the street dwellers will come next after the clearing of the sidewalk vendors will be completed.

Labella said the city government will round up all homeless individuals and will be placed in a temporary shelter. The mayor said they will look for a building where the street dwellers, street children, and mendicants will be bathed, clothed, and housed.

“I go out in the morning at 5:30 a.m. While checking the garbage, I see the homeless people in the streets. We are looking for a half-way house for them to have a temporary shelter to give them a bath, food, and eventually bring them to their respective towns,” he told reporters.

When he was still vice mayor, Labella had been raising concerns about the presence of street dwellers in the city. He even directed barangay officials and the police to clear the streets of dwellers when he was the acting mayor in December 2016.

“If it is necessary to bring them to a neighboring island like Bohol, by all means, we will spend for their return. If they keep on coming back, we will keep on sending them there. We will do that. We will sustain this,” he said.

As of now, he is still waiting for the data from the city’s Anti-Mendicancy Task Force and Department of Social Welfare and Services on the number and profile of street dwellers in the city.

Once the data and the profile are finalized, Labella said the city government will start rounding them up. Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, head of the DSWS, said that under the "Balik Probinsya" program of the city government, street dwellers will be sent back to their provinces for free.

Ibones said the city government has started rescuing the homeless people, street dwellers, and others last July. For the month of July, the city’s Anti-Mendicancy Task Force has rescued 50 people while 46 in August. The task force is still collating the data for the month of September.

“Nagsugod nami og storya pod ni Mayor Labella sa plan nga mangita og building as temporary shelter for the homeless para wala na gyud matulog sa kalsada,” Ibones told The FREEMAN.

Ibones said there are individuals and families that keep coming back despite the efforts of the city government to send them back to their towns, municipalities, and provinces. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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