Police: Most of the rescued street dwellers have homes in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines –They were not homeless.
Almost all of the 154 street dwellers who were rescued on Friday, October 16, were found to have homes in Cebu City.
However, they chose to remain on the streets to ask for alms, said Police Lieutenant Colonel Wilbert Parilla, the deputy director for operations of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
Parilla said that most of them were rescued from sidewalks that are located near a church in the downtown area where they would wait for the weekly distribution of relief goods coming from the church officials.
In an interview on Sunday, October 18, Parilla said that only five of the 154 street dwellers whom they rescued are now staying at the temporary shelter that was provided by the Cebu City government. The rest opted to return to their homes that are located in the different barangays in the city.
Parilla said that the five are Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) who were forced to live on the streets when the pandemic started because of their lack of cash to pay for their accommodation.
“The city will help them return to their provinces. Some of them are from Mindanao,” he said.
Parilla said that these individuals were made to undergo swab testing to make sure that they are not infected when they travel back home.
As for the 149 others, Parilla said that they had their personal information stored in a database so the police will have a basis to charge them for the violation of the city’s mendicancy ordinance should they decide to return to the streets.
Also, they already spoke with officials of the downtown Cebu City church to ask them to already cease from giving relief goods directly to street dwellers and instead course their donations to proper government agencies. / dcb
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