San Nicolas Proper to Cebu City gov’t: Help us take care of the homeless
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Barangay San Nicolas Proper in Cebu City is housing 91 homeless individuals since the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on Mach 28, 2020.
However, Barangay Captain Clifford Niñal, said they had never received assistance from the Cebu City government in caring for them except for the deployment of a social worker.
As for the expenses of taking care of the homeless, the barangay only received help from private donors and other government agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Many times, the barangay had to shell out funds to provide for the food and medicine of the homeless beneficiaries.
“Pasalamat na lang gani ko sa mga donations kay makatabang intawon. Naglisod na gyod mig pangitag ikapakaon nila labi na nga daghang bata,” said Niñal.
(We are thankful for the donations because they help a lot. Right now, we are having difficulties finding the resources to feed them especially that there are many children.)
The San Nicolas gym is currently home to 12 girls and 23 boys; and 24 women and 32 men.
Fortunately, none of the homeless residents proved positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Yet medical problems still arise in the group as the village chief said one had been found to have Tuberculosis, a lung disease which could be contagious.
This also makes him vulnerable to COVID-19 if he gets infected by the virus.
“Mao na karon pangulbaan ko nga basin magkasakit sila ba. Naa many nidonate og mga tambal, paracetamol, pero kailangan mig doctor nga motan-aw unta nila (I am worried that they might get sick. There are people who donated medicine, paracetamol, but they need a doctor to check on them),” said Niñal.
With this, Niñal is knocking on the City Hall to provide a medical staff to check on the homeless residents’ health conditions so that they may be prescribed the necessary medicine, especially the children, who are prone to infections.
If they exhibit influenza-like symptoms, they will automatically be taken to a cluster clinic to be tested for COVID-19, but Niñal said that the virus was not the only problem as some of them had stomach aches, fevers, and other illnesses not COVID-19 related.
San Nicolas Proper has silently cared for the homeless of the city and Niñal believes that its time the city government plays a role as well.
After all, he said this was supposed to be a shared responsibility with the city government.
“Bisag padalhan lang mig doctor unta (Even if they could only send us a doctor),” he said.
Niñal said he hoped that Mayor Edgardo Labella would hear the plea of the barangay and remember the homeless that they took in when the city was placed under quarantine./dbs
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