MANILA - Instead of hiding slum communities when it hosts January's widely anticipated Miss Universe pageant, the Duterte administration is inviting beauty queens in the pageant to visit local disadvantaged communities.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo is set to urge pageant organizers to let the Miss Universe contestants interact with Filipino youths in government shelters, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo shared Wednesday.
"Alam naman natin, iyung mga contestant diyan sa Miss Universe, maraming galing din sa mahirap na bansa. Hindi bago sa kanila ang mahihirap at ang kahirapan so nag-agree kami na hindi itatago," Taguiwalo told radio DZMM.
"May pagkakasisa ang Gabinete, batay na rin sa sinabi ng Pangulo, na walang taguan. In fact, tina-try naming ipaabot na baka gusto nilang dumalaw, magkaroon sila ng interaction sa mga kabataan natin sa shelters."
(We're aware that some Miss Universe contestants also come from poor countries. Poverty is not new to them so we will not hide it. The whole Cabinet is united, based on the President's directive, that there will be no concealment. In fact, we are trying to extend them an invitation to interact with youths at shelters.)
4,000 HOMELESS FAMILIES IN METRO MANILA
Citing a recent study by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Taguiwalo admitted that abject poverty still hounds many Filipinos.
In Metro Manila alone, there are 4,000 homeless families, majority of them dwelling in the streets of Manila, Pasay, Caloocan and Quezon City.
Of this number, 210 families were one-time beneficiaries of DSWD's housing program who returned homeless to Metro Manila due to lack of work in relocation sites.
Taguiwalo said the DSWD extends aid to the indigent families through subsidies for their housing, livelihood training and a cash-for-work program.
Local government units also offer regular outreach projects to these families, she said.
IPs IN SEASONAL NCR VISITS
The DSWD and LGUs are also eyeing a proactive program for indigenous people who ask for alms during their Christmas trips to Metro Manila.
"Dapat, ang usapan namin, sana by next year, makausap na itong mga komunidad nila, barangay heads nila, kung ano ba ang gustong mangyari tuwing Pasko," Taguiwalo said.
"Sa halip na mamalimos sa Maynila, magkaroon tayo ng programa sa lugar nila. Kung talagang gusto nilang mamasyal, i-organized natin."
(We agreed that by next year, we hope to talk with IP communities and their barangay heads to determine their plans for Christmas. Instead of begging in Manila, we would launch a program in their respective villages. If they really want to stroll somewhere else, we will organize it.)