Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Saturday has requested the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to swiftly address the needs of Indigenous People (IPs) and other individuals from calamity-stricken provinces who have come to the city to seek alms.

This after a report yesterday showed that a group of Badjaos were seen roaming around Novaliches begging for alms as their houses were extremely damaged by Typhoon Rolly few weeks ago.

They were immediately rescued by the city.

“Last night, I received a report that there is a group of Badjaos asking for alms in Novaliches. That’s why I instructed the SSDD and Novaliches District Center to check on them lalo na’t delikado ngayong hindi pa tapos ang pandemya,” Mayor Belmonte said.

As per the initial interview conducted by the city’s Social Services and Development Department (SSDD), they came from Batangas and Pampanga provinces.

“They are going to our city kasi nagbabakasakali sila na makahingi ng kaunting tulong kasi nasira yung mga bahay nila nung Typhoon Rolly. That’s why we are asking the DSWD to address their concerns para hindi na sila pumunta rito kasi it’s very dangerous to go around the streets lalo na’t may mga bata silang kasama. They are very much exposed to all the hazards,” Mayor Belmonte explained.

The mayor said the city has given temporary shelter to the 34 IPs rescued. They were also given hot meals and relief packs.

According to William Bawag, Action Office of Novaliches District Center, the rescued IPs will undergo medical check ups and Rapid Testing to ensure that they did not develop COVID-19 symptoms.

“Sa ngayon, they are temporarily housed in Bgy. Santa Monica. They are undergoing interviews from our social workers. They will also be checked by the City Health Department and will undergo rapid testing,” Bawag said.

After being cleared, the city will process their travel passes and will help them go home to their respective provinces as soon as possible.

Last October, the city together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) helped 81 Badjaos that were temporarily housed in Batasan Hills. The QC government gave them food packs and provided free rapid testing before bringing them home to their provinces.