DSWD to look into
situation of homeless families taken to Boystown
QUEZON CITY, Nov. 19 -- The transfer of homeless families from Manila to
the Boystown in Marikina City was solely an initiative of the local
government of Manila, said Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman on Monday.
The DSWD made this statement in reaction to allegations that Manila street
dwellers were removed in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
meeting from November 18 to 19.
Soliman said that DSWD-National Capital Region will coordinate with the City
Social Welfare and Development Office of Manila to look into the situation
of the families at the center. “If the families who were taken to the
Boystown want to leave the center, then we will help the LGU reintegrate
these families into their communities by giving them appropriate services.”
A team from DSWD-NCR already went to the center to check on the status of
She assured that both the local and national governments have no intention
to detain the street dwellers, but to provide them services to ensure that
they will not return to the streets.
Follow-through to livelihood assistance
Meanwhile, as a follow-through to the livelihood assistance that was
provided to the street vendors along Kalaw Street in the City of Manila,
Soliman engaged the vendors anew to determine how the government can further
Around 25 street vendors who were former homeless families and are now
beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless
Families (MCCT-HSF) met with Soliman.
MCCT-HSF currently has 4,071 registered beneficiaries in the National
Mericel Quintan, a beneficiary, said that before her inclusion in the
MCCT-HSF, she used to borrow money from the “5-6”, an onerous money lending
scheme, as capital for her stall but shared that she still had to pay the
high interest for her loan.
“Ngayon po ay di na ako kumuha ng pera mula sa 5-6 dahil nabigyan ako ng
food cart. ‘Di na rin po ako kinakabahan na madampot dahil sa illegal
vending (Now, I have stopped borrowing money from 5-6 because I was given
this food cart. I also need not worry about being apprehended due to illegal
vending),” Mericel said.
Another vendor, Norma Sarsarani, said she is happy that she can still
continue selling using the food cart she received. She is thankful for the
rental assistance, even saying that she will work double-time to be able to
continue to pay the rental fee of their house.
Aside from the livelihood assistance, other families were also given
employment as park attendants at the Luneta Park in Manila. Ricardo Merengga,
another MCCT-HSF beneficiary, now has a regular job as a park attendant
since he was absorbed by the management of Luneta Park.
The insights given by the beneficiaries will be used as basis in enhancing
the program, Soliman said. She announced that she has already made
instructions for the construction of bigger food carts and the distribution
of bigger umbrellas.
Soliman assured the vendors that their stalls have permits from the Manila
local government. (DSWD)