DSWD to check situation of street dwellers taken to Boystown

Amid reports that there are street dwellers who were taken to the Boystown in Marikina City, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman clarified that the transfer of these homeless families was solely an initiative of the local government of Manila.

She 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,” Sec. Soliman said.

As of press time, a team from DSWD-NCR is now at the center to check on the status of the families.

The Secretary 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, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman engaged the vendors anew yesterday to determine how the government can further assist them.

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 Sec. Soliman.

The MCCT-HSF is an expansion of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which provides a complete package of assistance to street families, including responsive shelter program, access to social services, and economic opportunities for the improvement of their living conditions. It also extends house rental assistance of up to P4,000 per month from six months to one year.

To date, MCCT-HSF has 4,071 registered beneficiaries in the National Capital Region and they expressed their thanks for the livelihood and shelter assistance given to them under the program.

Mericel Quintana narrated that before her inclusion in the MCCT-HSF, she used to borrow money from the “5-6” 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 continued.

Another vendor, Norma Sarsarani, said that she is happy that she can still continue selling using the food cart she received.

She is also thankful for the rental assistance 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, shared that he already has a regular job as a park attendant since he was absorbed by the management of Luneta Park.

After the sharing, Sec. Soliman said that the insights given by the beneficiaries will be used as basis in enhancing the program.

The Secretary also announced that she has already made instructions for the construction of bigger food carts and the distribution of bigger umbrellas.

She also assured the vendors that their stalls have permits from the LGU.

Source: DSWD