At least 453 individuals were rescued and transferred them to designated facilities, and reunited some of them with their families through Balik-Probinsya program of Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr.
This was the result of the continuous operations to rescue families, Batang Solvent children, and members of the indigenous community around the city, off the streets.
Mayor Lazatin has warned the public to refrain from giving alms to mendicants from the streets, even as the city government rescued individuals in need of mental medication or rehabilitation after testing positive for illegal substances.
“Nakikiusap po ako sa ating mga kababayan na tumalima po sa ating batas at sumunod po sa naaayon. Ang lokal na pamahalaan naman po ay tumutulong para sa mga mendicants na narerescue at binibigyan ng karampatang atensyong medikal o rehabilitation,” Lazatin said.
Of the 453 rescued individuals, 145 were transferred to different facilities to cater to their needs — 36 mentally challenged individuals were turned over to the Shelter of Goodwill Health Services in Magalang, Pampanga; 18 mentally challenged individuals were admitted to Metro Psych Facility in Pasig City; 4 mentally challenged individuals were referred to St. Claire Psychiatric Homecare in Bacolor, Pampanga; 34 are now under the custody of Bahay Pag-Asa; 19 in Home for the Girls; and 34 in Balay Silangan.
Lazatin’s Chief Adviser IC Calaguas personally coordinated with Angeles City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (ACDRRMO) Rudy Simeon to transport the 58 mentally challenged individuals to the three partner psychiatric facilities of the city government.
Calaguas, who is supervising the program with Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel, said the rescued mentally challenged individuals were tested clear for Covid-19 upon transfer, and were provided free hygiene kits, clothes, pillows, and blankets by the city government.
Meanwhile, out of the total of 34 individuals who turned out positive from illegal substances, 26 were transferred in Balay Silangan, 4 absconded from the facility, three were filed with charges of Republic Act 9165, and one minor was admitted to Central Luzon Drug Rehabilitation Center.
The 26 persons under the influence of illegal substance will undergo with the Angeles City Anti-Drug Abuse Council’s in-patient rehabilitation program.
According to ACADAC Head Ricky Saul, during their time at Balay Silangan the ACADAC will conduct support groups, seminars, counseling, and outreach programs for the rescued individuals from the streets.
After graduating, the ACADAC will also help the reformists in terms of their livelihood and job opportunities.
Furthermore, 34 minors are now under the custody of Bahay Pag-Asa where 27 Batang Solvent and seven street children will undergo reformation.
This is also part of Mayor Lazatin’s aim to provide a reformative and reintegrate intervention for children involved in inhaling solvent and empower them to recover and eventually join mainstream society as productive citizens.
Calaguas said, an in-house Alternative Learning System (ALS) will be provided, thus giving the children an avenue to continue their education.
“This was actually patterned after the Sagip Batang Solvent we had in Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency — a brainchild of former PDEA Chief Retired Gen. Aaron Aquino,” Calaguas added, who served as PDEA Acting Deputy Director General for Administration during the time of Retired Gen. Aquino.
To recall, Mayor Lazatin recently led the groundbreaking of Kanlungan ng Kabataan which will be a one-stop-shop youth custody center where the Bahay Pag-asa, and Sagip Batang Solvent will be both located.
Moreover, 19 girls were temporarily sheltered in Home for the Girls, a temporary residential facility which provides alternative form of family care to female children below 18 years old, who are victims of abuse and exploitation.
13 are now under monitoring and home visit while the remaining six are still on process of locating their families.
Further, 202 were transferred to their families in Angeles City (26 in Malabanias; 14 in Cutcut; 11 in Balibago; 11 in Pandan; 11 in Pampang; 8 in Ninoy Aquino; 8 in Anunas; 8 in Cutud; 7 in Amsic; 7 in Pulung Maragul; 6 in Pulung Cacutud; 5 in Cuayan; 4 in Pulungbulu; 3 in Salapungan; 2 in Sta. Teresita; 2 in Sto. Rosario; 2 in Agapito Del Rosario; 2 in Barangay Lourdes Northwest; 2 in San Jose; 1 in Virgen Delos Remedios; 1 in Tabun; 1 in Capaya; 1 in San Nicolas; and 1 in Sto. Domingo;) and from other towns and cities (9 in Tarlac; 3 in Pasay; 1 in Batangas; 1 in Davao; 15 in Mabalacat; 11 in Floridablanca; 7 in Porac; 4 in Bacolor; 2 Lubao; 2 in Mexico; 1 in Guagua; 1 in San Fernando; and 1 in Magalang).
The city government also catered the needs of the members of the indigenous community — 9 rescued individuals were transferred to the Aeta community in Sapangbato; 19 transferred to Aeta community in Porac; and 18 who are part of the Badjao community in Barangay Pandan were transferred in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
Meanwhile, 41 minors were endorsed to their parents with the supervision of their respective Barangay Council for Protection of Children.
11 individuals absconded from the processing center and the remaining eight who were rescued are still undergoing assessment and orientation.
Upon the instruction of Mayor Lazatin, social workers from the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) continuous to rescue families and children in the streets, Batang Solvent, and members of the indigenous community around the city to eradicate mendicancy.
Members of the Angeles City Traffic Development Office, led by Francis Pangilinan, Angeles City Tourism Auxiliary, headed by Michael Lising, and Angeles City Police Office assisted the social workers of CSWDO in the city-wide rescue operation.
“Hindi po hihinto ang CSWDO upang ma-reach out po lahat ng mga children and families under street situation dito sa Angeles City, sisiguraduhin po natin na mapapatupad po nang mas maigting ang Anti-Mendicancy Law,” CSWDO Head Edna Duaso said.