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DSWD’s Oplan Pag-Abot: Reaching out, rebuilding lives

In a society where many individuals find themselves living on the streets and facing unimaginable hardships, Oplan Pag Abot, the newest initiative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), brings hope and offers a new lease on life to children, families, and individuals in street situations.

As part of its effort to uplift the lives of people living on the streets, the DSWD rolled Oplan Pag-Abot this year with the aim of reaching out to the marginalized sector and mitigate the risks and vulnerabilities that they face.

The Pag-Abot project stands as a testament to the DSWD’s unwavering dedication to ensuring that no one is left behind.

The families of Alvin Baguio and Rea Villaflor are among those who have been reached out by the Pag-Abot project, and are currently being provided with various interventions.

Alvin’s Story: A father’s journey to stability with Oplan Pag-Abot

Alvin Baguio
Alvin Baguio (center) during the processing and discussion of the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-Asa program’s requirements and interventions.

In the busy streets of Metro Manila, amid the struggles and challenges faced by street children and families, one man’s determination to provide a better life for his children shines.

Alvin Ando Baguio, 48, left his hometown in Cordova, Cebu in search of better opportunities in Metro Manila. With dreams as his capital, and with the influence of his friends, he ventured into the metropolis as a laborer, hoping to build a brighter future for himself and his loved ones.

In 2010, Alvin’s life took a new turn when he met his wife, and they welcomed two beautiful children into their lives, namely, Prince and John Ivan.

However, their joy was short-lived as their marriage ended in separation, leaving Alvin as the sole provider for his children. Abandoned by his wife, who started her own family and offered no support, Alvin faced the daunting task of raising his children alone.

As a laborer, Alvin’s income failed to sustain the home that they were renting in Pasay City. In 2019, they were left no choice but to build a makeshift house on a vacant lot along Seaside Diokno in Macapagal Avenue.

At that time, Alvin was already more than 40 years old, and can barely do the work of a laborer. Since they were isolated from relatives in Metro Manila, and had lost contact with his family in Cebu, he, then, resorted to scavenging to meet the needs of his children, who were still attending school.

In the midst of their struggle, the Pag-Abot social workers crossed paths with Alvin and his children during one of their reach out operations. They were then interviewed on their living condition. Recognizing the urgency of their situation, the social workers, in collaboration with the local government unit (LGU) and the barangay, managed to trace Alvin’s family in Cebu using the given address.

Consequently, Alvin decided to avail of the Balik Probinsiya Bagong Pag-asa program as part of the interventions under the Pag-Abot project.

Their family was provided with the packages under the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program such as the Transitory Family Support Package, enabling them to purchase groceries, school supplies, and other household necessities to start anew in their hometown.

Alvin and his children
Alvin and his children in their new house in Cebu.

With the assistance of Oplan Pag-Abot, Alvin’s family now resides in an apartment near his siblings’ home in Cebu, surrounded by the love and support of relatives.

Alvin now works as a pedicab driver with a daily income of Php 200. Though meager, his earnings would somehow ensure a sustainable income for his family. His children also continued their studies at a nearby school.

Alvin is grateful for the assurance that his children are safe and cared for while he works as a dedicated solo parent.

Rea’s Story: Hope restored with Oplan Pag-Abot

Rea Abonador Villaflor
Rea Abonador Villaflor, his husband, and two children, during the profiling activity of the Oplan Pag-Abot team.

A story of resilience, redemption, and hope unfolds as Rea Abonador Villaflor, 32, has overcome immense challenges on her path to rebuilding her life.

Rea’s childhood was marked by separation from her parents, who sought better opportunities in Metro Manila.

Raised by her loving grandparents, Rea, at the age of 17, made the decision to join her mother in Tambo, Paranaque City. Unfortunately, her mother sold her in exchange for illegal drugs. Lost and vulnerable, Rea found herself in Dasmarinas City, where she also succumbed to substance abuse.

Amid the darkness, a new hope emerged in the form of Albert, Rea’s common-law partner. With unwavering love and support, Albert encouraged Rea to break free from the grip of addiction. United in their desire for a brighter future, they made the courageous decision to leave behind their past and start anew in 2009.

Rea and Albert have two children namely, Angelica, 10 and Angelo, 6, who are both raised by Albert’s parents since they work as dishwashers at Old Nayon Sun Valley in Pasay City.

Due to financial difficulty, Albert’s parents returned the children to their custody. Determined to provide a safe and stable home for their children, Rea and Albert built a makeshift tent in Old Nayon, Pasay City. However, their makeshift dwelling faced the imminent threat of eviction by airport authorities.

Faced with this adversity, Rea and Albert sought assistance through the Oplan Pag-Abot team during a profiling activity. The team, in collaboration with the Pasay City Social Welfare and Development Office, conducted a reach out operation to evaluate the family’s circumstances and provide appropriate interventions for them.

Realizing the need for a fresh start and stable environment, Rea and Albert decided to return to Albert’s aunt in Isabela province. Through the joint efforts of the DSWD Field Office II and the Local Social Welfare and Development Office of Isabela, the family was successfully reintegrated into the warm embrace of their relatives on April 29.

With the support of the DSWD, they received a Transitory Family Support Package, enabling them to purchase groceries and essential household supplies.

In their new home, surrounded by the love and care of Albert’s aunt, the family began restoring their hopes for a better life. Rea, leveraging on her agricultural skills, is now into farming, while Albert is a construction worker.

Reaching out to the most vulnerable

The stories of Alvin and Rea demonstrate the successful pilot run of the Oplan Pag-Abot in helping families, individuals, and children in street situations surpass the darkest part of their lives.

With its full implementation this July in the National Capital Region, the DSWD hopes to extend a helping hand to empower families, individuals and children to restart a dignified life and build a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

DSWD launches Oplan Pag-Abot

Oplan Pag-Abot

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gathalian leads the official launch of the Oplan Pag-Abot, the Department’s newest project, on Friday (June 30) at the DSWD Central Office in Batasan, Quezon City.

(Second photo) Joining Secretary Gatchalian during the launch are Dir. Shiela Gail Satura-Quingco, who represented Metro Manila Development Authority Chair, Atty. Romando S. Artes; Metro Manila Council Chair and San Juan City Mayor Francis Javier M. Zamora; Commission on Human Rights Chairperson, Atty. Richard Paat Palpal-latoc; and DSWD Undersecretary for Innovations Eduardo Punay, who is also the head of the Oplan Pag-Abot Team.

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