The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will work together to clear the metropolis’ streets of homeless people.
The two agencies will start with Roxas Boulevard, where there has been a growing number of vagrants.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said a satellite office will be set up on the ground floor of Gwapotel 1 on Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila, where the street families, street children and other homeless adults who will be picked up from Roxas Boulevard will be sheltered temporarily.
The satellite office will also be manned by DSWD personnel.
“We do not want them roaming the streets and posing danger to themselves and motorists. It is for their own safety that they be brought to a safe place where they will be taken care of,” Tolentino said.
Those who will be rescued from other streets will be taken to the Jose Fabella Center in Mandaluyong City, a half-way house for homeless people run by the DSWD.
The DSWD will help MMDA personnel determine who among those rescued can undergo skills training, are willing to return to their home provinces, and who are suffering from mental illness and needing hospitalization.
Tolentino said the operations will start this week at Roxas Blvd. from Coastal Road to US Embassy.
The intensified MMDA-DSWD rescue effort is eyeing a June 12 deadline.
If the operations on Roxas Boulevard are successful, Tolentino said the MMDA and the DSWD will try them out in other parts of Metro Manila.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman said they will be closely coordinating with local chief executives, particularly those from the cities of Manila, Pasay and Paranaque to achieve their goal of zero street children in Roxas Boulevard before June 12.
Tolentino said they plan to train some MMDA women employees on how to approach the vagrants and serve as additional counselors for DSWD.
He also ordered the number of MMDA personnel assigned on Roxas Boulevard increased from 21 to 60 and requested additional vehicles for the operation.
Under the “Comprehensive Program for Street Children” the DSWD is teaming up with the MMDA and local government units of Metro Manila to remove the street dwellers from their dangerous environment and uplift their lives.
Street children and families will be provided a complete package of social protection services.
The comprehensive program offers “Balik-Probinsya” assistance to families and individual adults, educational and food assistance to in-school street children and Badjaos, livelihood assistance and cash for work
There are no figures on the number of street dwellers on Roxas Boulevard, but the DSWD recorded 1,568 street families in the National Capital Region (NCR).