By Zaldy De Layola

(Photo courtesy of DSWD)

MANILA – A total of 973 homeless individuals who are living or staying on the streets have benefitted from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) since the launching of “Oplan Pag-Abot” (Reaching Out) in June.

Based on the report Monday by Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Irene Dumlao, the DSWD has helped 425 family members and 528 unattached individuals as of Dec. 7.

“The DSWD, through our Pag-Abot Team, continues to conduct reach-out operations to encourage families and individuals in street situations to come with the team so they can be kept away from danger and provided with assistance and services from the government,” Dumlao said in a news release.

Of the total, 189 were given aid through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS).

There were also 241 who returned home to their provinces through the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program” that provides financial and livelihood aid.

The others were referred to their local government units (LGUs) for appropriate interventions while some are temporarily sheltered in DSWD-run centers and residential care facilities, Dumlao said.

The DSWD has set up a mega processing center in Quezon City in order to reach out to more families and individuals in street situations, especially during the holiday season.

Dumlao likewise called on the public to extend help to families and individuals in street situations in proper platforms and venues, such as the processing centers of Oplan Pag-Abot.

“We put up this processing center to provide a more organized and safer venue for gift-giving,” she said.

DSWD operations in Metro Manila are being done in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights, Philippine Statistics Authority, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and LGUs. (PNA)