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Full package for DSWD’s Oplan Pag-Abot clients sought from key gov’t agencies

DSWD Oplan Pag-Abot
Secretary Rex Gatchalian presides over the first meeting of the Oplan Pag-Abot Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) on Tuesday (January 30) at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City following its creation through Executive Order No. 52.

A more comprehensive package of services and interventions for families and individuals in street situations (FISS) was sought by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian from key government agencies during the first Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) meeting for Oplan Pag-Abot on Tuesday (January 30) at the DSWD Central Office.

Secretary Gatchalian called for support from the member-agencies in realizing the objectives set by Executive Order (EO) No. 52 to further enhance and unify the delivery of services to vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors in street situations through the provision of social safety nets.

“They [families and individuals] are in the streets because the state fails them. Now, it is time for us to make up for our shortcomings, tayo [we], the state, by providing them with the necessary social protection that they need and we really need your help with it,” the DSWD chief told the member-agencies present.

On January 18, Malacañang issued EO 52 that institutionalized and expanded the DSWD’s Oplan Pag-Abot by creating an IAC that will lead the conduct of reach-out operations.

Under the EO, the DSWD Secretary will chair the IAC while the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will be the vice chair.

According to Secretary Gatchalian, the DSWD will particularly need assistance and support from the member-agencies in providing post-reach-out care services to the assisted clients who are exposed to hazards and abuses.

“Ang iniisip namin na [what we are thinking as] support from other agencies will be the after care, lalong lalo na kapag inuwi namin sila sa probinsya [especially if we bring them to the provinces]. Baka may iba pa kayong [you might have other] in kind support that you can help us with,” Sec. Gatchalian pointed out.

The DSWD chief added: “We are planning to tighten a package together with all of you, a comprehensive package of aftercare for them, whether tulungan ninyo magsaka, tulungan magnegosyo [you help them farm or start a business].”

Sec. Gatchalian explained to the representatives of the member-agencies the actions taken by the Oplan Pag-Abot teams after the reach-out operations.

“One, transitory, we put them in our care facilities. Two, kapag iyong pamilya nila nandiyan [if they have families], we reintegrate them into their families. Three, we bring them to their provinces but with the right economic grants,” the DSWD chief noted.

Through the Oplan Pag-Abot, reached out individuals who used to live on the streets are provided with various interventions including medical help, food aid, transportation and relocation assistance, livelihood opportunities, transitory family support packages, and emergency financial and transitory shelter assistance, among others.

Sec. Gatchalian explained the difference between the Oplan Pag-Abot and other rescue operations earlier known to the public where authority is present.

“Hindi ito sapilitan [this is not by force], we convince them, until they come with us. That is the main thrust, it is right-based approach,” Sec. Gatchalian emphasized.

“It is also technology-driven. Every single person who comes with us, bina-biometric naming [we subject them to biometrics] and it goes into the Pag-abot database,” the DSWD Secretary added.

According to Sec. Gatchalian, the program has recently rolled out an e-profiling tool that uses a tablet-based application featuring a geo-tagging function that enables the Oplan Pag-Abot teams to easily locate and assist individuals and families in street situations.

Sec. Gatchalian was joined by Undersecretary for Innovations Edu Punay and Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, Attached and Supervised Agencies (ASAs) Elaine Fallarcuna during the meeting.

Officials from member-agencies who attended the IAC meeting were Department of Education (DepEd) Asst. Sec. for Field Operations Dr. Francis Cesar Bringas, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Asst. Sec. Dominic Tolentino, Department of Agriculture Director U-Nicols Manalo, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Deputy Administrator Ray Elevazo, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Executive Director Floramel Joy Songsong.

Representatives from the other member-agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), DILG, and the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) were also present.

Launched in July 2023 as a priority program of Sec. Gatchalian, Oplan Pag-Abot is currently being implemented in Metro Manila to reach out to people living on the streets and provide them with appropriate interventions, as well as opportunities to improve their social and economic status and fulfill their fundamental rights.

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