EDITORIAL - Helping ourselves and helping them too
EDITORIAL - Helping ourselves and helping them too
(The Freeman) - October 17, 2020 - 12:00am

Those who live in the streets of Cebu City will soon be rounded up by the authorities. Those found to be from somewhere else will be sent home, while those who are found to be city residents will be turned over to their respective barangays.

“Dunay order ang DILG directing all local government units to remove all mendicants and street dwellers sa atong siyudad not only sa atoa but in the whole LGU. So mag-coordinate ang city, including DSWD, PROBE, City Health Office, for the one time big time rescue operation,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Wilbert Parilla, deputy for operations of the Cebu City Police Office, was quoted as saying in a story in this paper.

What the city is doing is not just good for the city but also good for the street dwellers themselves.

Those who live in the streets face different kinds of dangers.

Getting them off the streets means getting them out of reach of criminal syndicates who may want to rob them or use them to commit crimes like petty theft and even armed robbery. Some street dwellers are even forced to beg for criminal groups. Either way they still end up being victims themselves.

Street dwellers are also exposed to different kinds of physical threats. There is always danger when you sleep or take up residence beside a busy street, at the sidewalk, or under a bridge.

What happened to Hansel Dayondon should be an example why we should get people off the streets. Dayondon, 14, was swept away by raging floodwaters several days ago when he and some of his friends took shelter under the Rahman Bridge in Barangay Zapatera. He was found dead the other day.

Then, of course, there is the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus. Many street dwellers live in groups. They have to, because survival is always more successful the more people there are in your group. But many of these groups do not practice physical distancing and other quarantine protocols. If any of them get infected with COVID-19 they risk transmitting the disease among their numbers.

However, like in a previous editorial about removing homeless people from the streets, we must stress that this must be done while taking into account the rights of street dwellers.

Even those without homes still have their rights. They must be made to understand why they cannot stay where they are, and help must be extended to get them to where they should be.

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