Some 274 members of the Aeta community from Capas, Tarlac were assisted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its strengthened implementation of the Oplan Pag-Abot in Metro Manila.
In line with the instruction of DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, the reached-out Aetas were endorsed to the various programs and services of the department, including Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program and Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa (BP2) program.
“The team came across these Aetas during their reach-out activity last weekend, which is part of the agency’s Pag-Abot sa Pasko that aims to strengthen the project this yuletide season, a time when we see a volume of families and individuals flocking to the streets to beg,” Asst. Secretary for Legislative Affairs Irene Dumlao said on Monday (December 18).
Asst. Sec. Dumlao, who is also the agency’s data privacy officer and co-spokesperson, said that the Aetas were reached out by the Pag-Abot team along Samson Road in Caloocan City last Saturday (December 16).
According to the DSWD official, the Department reached out and assisted some 73 Aeta families, with 257 family members, and 17 unattached individuals, including children and seniors, who reportedly came from five different barangays in Capas, Tarlac.
The reached-out families and individuals were immediately transported by the Pag-Abot team to their respective communities and endorsed to the local government unit (LGU) of Capas, through the intervention of DSWD Field Office-3 (Central Luzon).
“We are immensely grateful for the collaborative efforts of the DSWD Field Office and the local government units, particularly the LGUs of Caloocan City and Capas, in making the reach-out operation for Aetas successful,” Asst. Sec. Dumlao said.
Asst. Sec. Dumlao said the families will also undergo assessment for eligibility to the agency’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) to provide them with opportunities to start anew in their respective communities.
The DSWD continues to conduct reach-out operations for families and individuals in street situations in Metro Manila, in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the concerned LGUs in the National Capital Region.
To date, more than 1,170 individuals have been reached out by the DSWD in Metro Manila composed of 570 individuals and 602 family members since the Oplan Pag-Abot was launched in July this year.
Oplan Pag-Abot is among the flagship programs of the DSWD, under the leadership of Sec. Gatchalian, to help and support individuals and families living on the streets by offering them proper interventions and support.