DSWD chief admits homeless rounded up in line with Pope Francis’ PH visit
MANILA, Philippines — Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman finally admitted during a Senate hearing on Tuesday that some 100 families were brought to an air-conditioned resort in Nasugbu, Batangas as part of the preparation for Pope Francis’ visit to the country.
“’Yung amin hong kausap dito ay ang Manila, Parañaque, at Pasay dahil nais kong ipaliwanag madam chair na totoo na bilang paghahanda sa pagdating ni Pope Francis, ito pong mga local na pamahalaan na ito ay nagnais din na maging maayos ang Roxas Boulevard, mailagay sa maayos at ligtas ‘yung mga pamilyang nandun po dahil alam nila na dadami ang mga tao, maaari silang ma-discriminate, maari din po silang magamit ng sindikato,” Soliman told the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development.
(We talked to the (governments of) Manila, Parañaque and Pasay because I wanted to explain, madam chair, that it was true that, to prepare for Pope Francis’ arrival, these local governments wanted to make sure that Roxas Boulevard was in a secure and safe state and so were the people as they could be discriminated against and used by syndicates there with the influx of people in the area.)
“So noong nag-reach out sa kanila, sa mga pamilyang nandidto sa mga lugar na ito, amin pong minungkahi na itong mga pamilya ring ito naman talaga ay irerehistro o nakarehistro na sa modified Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) so sabi namin ito ‘yung pagkakataon para magkaroon ng orientation at ginawa po namin ang orientation ng January 15 to the 19,” she said.
(So when we reached out to the families on Roxas Boulevard, since we were already planning to register them to the modified Conditional Cash Transfer (program), we thought it could be the right time to hold the orientation from Jan. 15 to 19.)
The period was the same time the Pope visited the country.
Soliman explained that the activity was part of the “family camps for homeless family” under the government’s modified CCT meant to protect them from hazards and exploitation. It was also a chance, she said, to give homeless families social services while at the camp and allow them to also experience new things.
She said these programs for street children and homeless people have started as early as August of 2011.
The investigation of the committee was initiated by its chair, Senator Nancy Binay.
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