A TOP Palace official underscored the need to protect the homeless families from being contaminated with the deadly virus from Wuhan, China.
In his regular weekly radio program, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo also called on Metro Manila mayors to address the proliferation of street families, saying children and babies are being used to seek alms despite the continued threat of COVID-19.
Panelo said mayors should ensure that people will not roam the streets by putting in place a local task group whose only job is to take them to a place deemed safe — perhaps temporary shelters.
“Children and babies are being used by individuals who are asking for alms. They are endangering the lives of these minors,” Panelo said.
Local government units, he added, should not depend heavily on the programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the street families.
“Whatever happened to our call to the LGUs in Metro Manila to rescue these street families and bring them to relocation sites. First, their health is at risk, second, these serve as an eyesore, and they are prone to accidents and abuses,” Panelo added.
He noted that homeless individuals are sleeping in many sidewalks.
“So, I am calling out the mayors here in Metro Manila. The street families are everywhere. They sleep on the sidewalks. Why can’t we address these things? I cannot even understand why you cannot do that. Mayors should form a particular task force to focus on the problem,” he noted.
The DSWD has already released at least P99.9 billion as part of the program of the government to provide financial assistance to families affected by the coronavirus disease pandemic.