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DSWD urges public: Report sightings of street children amid COVID threat

The Department of Social Welfare and Development is encouraging the public to report sightings of street children roaming around so they can be provided shelter and protected against COVID-19.

In a Dobol B sa News TV interview on Sunday, DSWD spokesperson Director Irene Dumlao said anyone who sees homeless children roaming the streets can coordinate with the DSWD field office in the National Capital Region (NCR) or the concerned local government unit to keep these children away from harm.

"We encourage the public to report yung mga sightings ng street children and street families," she said.

"Maaari nilang itawag sa Crisis Intervention Unit ng DSWD field office ng NCR sa telepono bilang 8735-5413. Gayun din, maaari nila itong itawag sa mga lokal na pamahalaan," she added.

Dumlao reported that from January to October 2020, the DSWD has given assistance to 49 street children and 51 street families through their Comprehensive Program for Street Children, Street Families, and Indigenous Peoples.

These street children, she said, were given educational assistance by the department, while the street families were provided with livelihood assistance.

Aside from this, the DSWD is continuously implementing its modified conditional cash transfer for homeless street families.

In NCR alone, she said 2,960 homeless families have already benefited from the said program.

"We understand, however, that the local government unit has been active in ensuring na mabawasan yung numero ng mga street children and families, especially those at risk, na sila ay maiwasan na mamalagi sa mga lansangan especially that the threat of COVID-19 is present. So ang DSWD ay patuloy na nakikipag-ugnayan sa lokal na pamahalaan," she added.

Dumlao acknowledged, nevertheless, that there are street children who escape from DSWD facilities to return to the streets.

To address this, she said the DSWD coordinates with the Peace and Order council of the concerned barangay.

"Kapag ang mga bata ay meron pang pamilya, ang ginagawa natin ay nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa barangay peace and order council, gayun din sa mga pamilya ng mga batang ito," Dumlao said.

"Kinakailangan nating ma-counsel ang mga pamilya at mapangalagaan nila yung kanilang mga anak at maiwasan na sila ay mamalagi sa lansangan," she added.

Dumlao said the DSWD also coordinates with the local government unit to provide sustainable livelihood for the family of the street children, if needed.

Bayanihan 2 assistance

When it comes to assistance under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, Dumlao said the DSWD has already disbursed over P86.5 billion to more than 14.5 million low-income families.

"Ang target namin ay 14.5 milyon families and we're almost done with the implementation of the SAP program," she said.

Also, the DSWD has distributed almost P250 million in emergency subsidy to 49,000 families in granular lockdown, and released more than P1.7 billion to more than 251,000 families who are additional beneficiaries.

"Kung mayroong ilan na hindi pa nabigyan ng ayuda dahil sa data quality issues, ang agreement namin kapag mayroon pang hindi nabayaran ay tayo ay magma-manual pay-out na, pupunta tayo sa beneficiaries and we will distribute," Dumlao said. —LBG, GMA News