The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is now prepared for the full implementation of Oplan Pag-Abot as Secretary Rex Gatchalian officially launched on Friday (June 30) the Department’s newest project to the media.
In his opening statement during the media conference at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City, Secretary Gatchalian emphasized that the Oplan Pag-Abot is part of the Department’s effort to “expand social protection, most especially to the families and individuals in the street situations.”
According to the Secretary, the DSWD, through its newly formed Oplan Pag-Abot Team, is set to implement the project starting Monday (July 3) in three cities around Metro Manila.
“Ngayon mag-e-expand tayo sa tatlo pang lungsod, sa high density areas nila. And I am sure over the time as we keep expanding it, malalaman natin kung paano pa natin ma-e-enhance ang programa,” Secretary Gatchalian explained.
(Now, we will expand to three more cities, targeting their high-density areas. And I am sure that over time, as we continue to expand, we will learn how to further enhance the program.)
Specifically, the DSWD will conduct a profiling activity along LRT 1 covering the cities of Pasay, Manila, and Caloocan, as an initial step before it will roll out the actual Pag-Abot operations in the said areas.
Secretary Gatchalian also assured the public that the rights of the families, individuals, and children in street situations will be respected and promoted, as the DSWD will be joined by a representative from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) during its reach-out operations.
“May mga built-in na safety nets ito dahil ang ang approach natin ay rights based. Ang magka-conduct ng mga reach-out operations ay social workers… sila ang mag-e-engage,” the DSWD chief pointed out.
(This has built-in safety nets because our approach is rights-based. Social workers will be the ones conducting the reach-out operations… they are the ones who will engage.)
“They will be wearing body cameras na pinahiram ng MMDA (which was lent to us by the Metro Manila Development Authority) so all their actions are documented,” Secretary Gatchalian stressed.
Atty. Richard Paat Palpal-latoc, the CHR Chairperson, expressed full support for the initiative of the DSWD, emphasizing that the project applies a holistic approach in all of its interventions.
“Ang Oplan Pag-Abot ay nagpapakita ng pagkilala ng estado, ng pamahalaan ng kanyang obligasyon alinsunod sa United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child na nagtatakda ng mga kailangan ng mga bata upang mabuhay, umunlad at mabigyan ng pagkakataon na makamit ang kanilang kabuoang potensyal,” Atty Palpal-latoc said.
(The Oplan Pag-Abot demonstrates the state’s recognition and the government’s obligation in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which establishes the needs of children to survive, thrive, and be given the opportunity to achieve their full potential.)
The DSWD Chief likewise emphasized that various interventions will be provided to the reached-out families and individuals, based on the assessment of the social workers, including medical assistance, food support, transportation and relocation aid, livelihood opportunities, transitory family support packages, emergency financial assistance, and transitory shelter assistance.
Part of the intervention is preparing the families to return to their hometown through the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program of the DSWD.
“We fully support the Oplan Pag-Abot project to reach out to those who are in street situations and reintegrate them into communities where they are protected and provided with opportunities,” Director Shiela Gail Satura- Quingco, the representative of MMDA OIC-Chair, Atty. Romando S. Artes, said.
“Ito po ay napakagandang programa sapagkat hindi lamang ito natutuon sa pag-alaga sa mga individuals or families in street situations ngunit sinisigurado nito na ang kanilang mga lugar na babalikan ay handa na rin sa kanilang pagbalik,” Metro Manila Council Chair and San Juan City Mayor Francis Javier M. Zamora said.
(This is a very commendable program because it not only focuses on caring for individuals or families in street situations, but also ensures that their home of return are prepared for their comeback.)
Secretary Gatchalian hopes that the program will also be cascaded in other highly urbanized areas with the same situation as the capital region.
With its full implementation starting this July in Metro Manila, the DSWD aims to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities of children, individuals, and families in street situations through reach-out operations and the provision of various interventions.