Authorities conduct second rescue operation of street dwellers in Cebu City

CEBU CITY—At least 170 individuals were rounded up after authorities here conducted another round of rescue operation for street dwellers on Tuesday, October 20.

Cebu City Government led by the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification Enhancement (Probe) Team along with the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) held a rescue operation to street dwellers as they round up the dwellers in Plaza Independencia and gave them medical assistance and interview for assessment for them to give them a ride for their return to their respective barangays and provinces on October 16, 2020. (Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela/ MANILA BULLETIN)

          Operatives of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), along with personnel of the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (PROBE) team, rounded up the 170 vagrants starting at 3 a.m.

          The city has now rescued more than 300 street dwellers after rescuing 154 last October 16.

          Some of the street dwellers were still asleep when the rescue team arrived.

          “We started early because we wanted to find out where these street dwellers were really staying,” said Police Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, deputy city director for operations of CCPO.

          Parilla said a profiling will be conducted to determine if some of the rescued persons were the same individuals who were rounded up last Friday.

          Authorities had warned that repeat offenders will be charged for violating the city’s anti-mendicancy ordinance.

          Parilla said some of the rescued persons were living near rivers.

          “We really had to rescue them because it will be very dangerous for them especially when it’s flooding,” said Parilla.

          Last October 13, a 16-year-old died after he was swept away by flood while sleeping under the Kamputhaw bridge.

          Parilla said more rescue operations will be conducted in the coming days to remove mendicants off the streets in compliance of the directive issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government.     

          To completely remove beggars from the streets, City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the city was looking into the possibility of providing livelihood programs for the rescued individuals.

          “Those who are trainable, we have instructed the DMDP (Department of Manpower Development and Placement) to provide livelihood training. We know that some are going back to the streets but we will not stop. We will be relentless especially that most of the rescued persons were Cebu City residents who are not actually homeless but they chose to go out and roam around,” said Labella.

          Some of the rescued individuals were brought to a city-owned shelter while awaiting for their travel to their respective provinces as part of the “Balik Probinsya” program.