170 more street dwellers rescued
Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - October 21, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  At least 170 more street dwellers were rounded up by authorities yesterday in Cebu City.

This brings the total number of rescued street dwellers to 300. The first massive rescue operation was kicked off with 154 rescued individuals on October 16.

Wilbert Parilla, Cebu City Police Office’s deputy city director for operations, said yesterday’s operation started at 3 a.m. to make sure none of the street dwellers and mendicants would try to escape.

They will be profiled for documentation, he said.

“I-check nato kun same ra ba ning mga na rescue nato karon ug katong rescue last Friday,” he said.

Authorities earlier warned that repeat offenders will face charges for violating the city’s  Anti-Mendicancy Ordinance.

Majority of the rescued individuals during the first operation were found to have homes in Cebu, but opted to loiter in the streets for alms. They were ordered to return home.

Others are staying at a city-owned shelter, while awaiting for their travel documents. They will be sent back to their respective provinces as part of the “Balik Probinsya” program.

Parilla said among their priority areas for the rescue are those near riverbanks and other waterways.

“We really have to rescue them because it will be very dangerous for them especially during heavy downpour and flooding,” said Parilla.

It can be recalled that a 16-year-old boy died after he was swept away by flood while sleeping under the Kamputhaw Bridge.

Parilla said more rescue operations will be conducted in the coming days to remove mendicants off the streets.

The operation is in compliance with the directive issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

To completely remove beggars off the streets, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella earlier said that the city government is looking into the possibility of providing a livelihood program for the rescued individuals. — KQD (FREEMAN)

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