Thursday, March 20, 2014

Street dwellers problem in Manila has no solution

HOW do you clear Manila of street dwellers when no less than the city hall is charging them P200 for medical check up?

This was learned on Tuesday after around 100 street dwellers were rounded up in Manila tourist district by police officers of Station 5.

Supt. Alex Yanquiling, chief of Manila Police District Station 5, said they were clearing the Ermita and Malate business area of street dwellers but were dismayed to learn that the city office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development refused to receive the vagabonds.

“Each street dweller is charged P200 for medical check up, a requirement before they are accepted under the custody of DSWD,” Yanquiling told reporters.

A city hall official, who asked anonymity because he is not allowed to talk on the issue, explained that they were just implementing Ordinance 8331 which took effect last February 17.

The ordinance, which was approved by Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, mandates that all city government owned hospitals should charge P200 per medical check up.

Yanquiling said some arresting officers were forced to shell out their own money so the street dwellers they rounded up would be accepted under the care of DSWD.

Services in Manila-owned hospitals before the passage of Ordinance 8331 were 100 percent free, including some medicines and use of medical equipment and instruments.

Business owners in the area have been complaining for the awkward sight of street dwellers, who sleep in sidewalks, occupying the pacement near the doors of establishments, including hotels and restaurants. JAIME R. PILAPIL

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