DSWD starts rounding up mendicants

The department would next rescue street children, otherwise known as ‘mga batang hamog, in coordination with local government units

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has started rescuing Badjao and Aeta people who have gone to Metro Manila and other big cities in the country to ask for alms during the Christmas season.

Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo said they started the rescue operation last 18 November. In Metro Manila alone, the agency has rescued about 100 Badjao from Mindanao, he said.

Tulfo assured the public that said indigenous peoples would not only be sent back to their provinces but that the government will also provide them with livelihood.

“Formerly, they are being given food, tickets to (board) ships, and some money. Then they will be sent to where they belong,” said Tulfo Sunday.

“The problem is they don’t have food to eat here in the National Capital Region or to other big cities so they beg or ask for alms,” he added.

Each IP family that will be rescued by the DSWD will be given P10,000, which they can use to start a business when they return home. Each family will also be given food packs, family and hygiene kits.

“This is what President BBM wanted to do that is to give them livelihood so they will no longer beg on the streets,” Tulfo said referring to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

He guaranteed that DSWD’s assistance to members of the IP communities would be year-round and not just during the Yuletide season.

DSWD Undersecretary Denise Bragas, who supervises the rescue operations of the IPs, said they would next rescue street children, otherwise known as “mga batang hamog,” in coordination with local government units.

“The marching orders from Secretary Tulfo is if a child has been rescued three times, he or she will no longer be given back to the parents. The government will oversee their well-being and their studies,” she said.

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