THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Monday denied plans to round off homeless families in Metro Manila to hide them from thousands of delegates who will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting to be held in Manila in November.
But the DSWD admitted that more than 4,000 homeless families will be attending a series of “Talakayang Pambarangay” and they will be renting houses during the event.
Cesario Joel Espejo, chief of the DSWD Social Marketing Service, told The Manila Times that there is not truth to the allegations of left leaning organizations that the DSWD is set to “hide” the poor families in Metro Manila.
Espejo said it is difficult to hide the poor because there are so many of them.
He stressed that what the DSWD will do is to “reach out” to the homeless street families and assist them.
In a press statement posted on its website, Secretary Corazon Soliman said reaching out to poor families is being done through the DSWD’s partnership with local government units (LGUs).
“The DSWD continues to reach out to homeless families as part of efforts to protect them from harm and abuse which are rampant on the streets,” she said.
“It is their right to be protected and to be given services. This is why we continue to provide them with health, shelter, and educational assistance,” Soliman added.
Espejo said each family that will attend the Talakayang Pambarangay will be given P4,000 for house rentals. The event will be facilitated by the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) and parent-leaders of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
The project, according to Soliman, “will serve as a venue to create awareness among parents on positive discipline of children and to teach them the different approaches to protect their children from various forms of abuse.”
“Homeless families especially street children are vulnerable and they become doubly vulnerable if they remain on the streets,” she said.
But Espejo emphasized that the DSWD does not only reach out to homeless poor families when there is an international summit in Manila.
He said the 4,071 families that will be joining the Talakayang Pambarangay are beneficiaries of the DSWD’s Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Families (MCCT-HSF), an expansion program of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Aquino administration.
The homeless families are not included in the 4Ps because the program is for poor families who are not homeless.