THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) spent more than P37 million for six camping activities participated in by 5,636 street dwellers in Metro Manila from 2011 to 2015, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman admitted on Tuesday.
Appearing before a Senate social justice committee hearing, Soliman defended the family camping activities conducted from January 14 to 19 at a prime resort in Nasugbu, Batangas, saying they were part of the DSWD’s program geared toward providing street families activities involving character-building and personal development.
In fact, she added, the agency has been conducting such activities since 2011.
The first activity was on August 2011 at the Manila Boys Town complex in Marikina City (Metro Manila), in which 145 street children took part.
The second was held on December 2011 at Villa Diaz Resort, with 127 street children. The DSWD spent P585,000 and P180,000 respectively, for the events.
On May 2012, the agency started the Pamilyang Pilipino Tanging Yaman ng Lipunan Family camp involving 102 street families from Manila, Paranaque City and Pasay City.
A six-day outing at God’s Family Farm in San Mateo, Rizal, cost around P1.4 million.
Then on November 2012, the DSWD held another family camping, the biggest of the six camping activities, involving 703 street families at Island Cove resort in Cavite.
The activity was divided into three batches and cost P26 million.
Another family camping was held on May 2012, when the Philippines hosted the World Economic Forum on East Asia. A total of 197 families joined the activity costing a total of P4.7 million.
Soliman said the 2012 family camping activities marked the start of the registration of chosen street families to the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) program.
The latest family camping was held January 14 to19 this year, where 100 families mostly staying along Roxas Boulevard were taken to Chateau Royale resort in Nasugbu, Batangas.
The six-day event, which was held while Pope Francis was in the country, cost P4,750,223.
Soliman admitted that the holding of the family camping was part of the preparation of the government for the papal visit.
She said local government units had asked the DSWD to help them come up with a way to temporarily relocate the families living along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard to a safer place.