To protect them from the risk of acquiring various diseases such as COVID-19, the Quezon City government has ramped up its rescue operation efforts for street dwellers roaming around the city’s major thoroughfares.

Dubbed as ‘Oplan Kalingang QC’, the campaign aims to reach out to vagrants and bring them home to their respective barangays or even provinces.

Task Force Disiplina and the Social Services Development Department (SSDD) conduct the operations, and they bring the rescued dwellers at the processing center in Barangay NS Amoranto.

“So far in our operations for three days, we already reached out to 425 street dwellers. Some of them are even indigenous people or badjaos from Pampanga and Batangas,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

Vagrants brought in the processing center immediately undergo medical check-up by the QC Health Department, followed by an interview and assessment done by the city’s social workers.

Drug testing is provided by the QC Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCAADAC).

Health and safety protocols are strictly implemented at the processing center, as well as during the rescue operations.

After determining and verifying their addresses, QC residents are brought to their respective barangays.

They are also offered city programs such as livelihood, capital assistance, and educational assistance depending on what is applicable to them based on the SSDD assessment. They will then be revisited by social workers.

Street dwellers from other NCR cities are brought to their homes by SSDD and QC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), while those who came from the provinces are assisted through the Balik-Probinsya Program.

Personnel of the QC Police District (QCPD) are also in the processing center to ensure the security of the site and for the issuance of travel pass for those who are going home to the provinces.

Since last Thursday (December 17), the city has helped 276 vagrants return to their respective homes.

“Sinisiguro natin na in just one or two days, makauwi sila sa kani-kanilang tahanan. Tayo na ang nag-aayos ng mga kailangang dokumento nila tulad ng medical certificate at travel pass para makabalik na sila sa kanilang probinsya,” Mayor Belmonte added.

According to Nonie Metran of SSDD, street dwellers usually flock the streets to ask for alms especially during the Christmas season.

“Maski po noon na walang pandemic, nire-rescue natin sila dahil napakadelikado na manatili sa lansangan kasi exposed sila sa lahat ng sakit at aksidente,” Metran explained.

Oplan Kalingang QC is also part of the city’s reponse to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular 2020-145 or the continuation of the road clearing operations.