Rescue and reach-out operations in Makati
Allow us to respond to Pedro V. Refuerzo Jr.’s letter (“Swift action for Makati’s poorest families,” Opinion, 2/28/17).
We appreciate his concern, but let me clarify that the city government has not been remiss in its duties, nor have we taken for granted the welfare of street dwellers in our city.
In fact, the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD), through its Emergency Assistance Section, has been conducting rescue and reach-out operations in the area since last year—on Nov. 8, 2016, Jan. 31, 2017, and March 9, 2017—in coordination with the Makati Police Community Precinct No. 4, Public Safety Department, Department of Environmental Services, and Makati Action Center.
The interagency operations in the area rounded up a total of 21 street dwellers and mendicants, including 10 children. Of these, only three adults were Makati residents; the rest were from other cities and provinces like Pasay, Manila, Muntinlupa and Cavite.
After undergoing medical checkups provided by the Makati Health Department, the rescued individuals received counseling from MSWD social workers and were also apprised of the city’s strict enforcement of Presidential Decree No. 1563, or the Mendicancy Law of 1978. Parents found using their children for alms-begging were also briefed on Republic Act No. 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Law.
The homeless among them were turned over to the Jose Fabella Center in Mandaluyong, while those who gave an address were referred to their respective local governments for proper disposition and case management. The adults were asked to sign an undertaking that they will not return to the area and will abide by the law.
Much as we would like to protect these families and individuals from the dangers of street-dwelling, a number of them have kept coming back to the area. They explained to our social workers that it is where they can eke out a living from working as jeepney barkers, vendors and scavengers.
To prevent them from coming back, the MSWD, in coordination with the concerned local and national agencies, will be conducting rescue and reach-out operations regularly in the area. We have asked the officials of Barangay Bangkal to constantly monitor the area to ensure that it remains free from mendicants and street dwellers.
RYAN BARCELO, officer in charge, Makati Social Welfare Department
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