Street dwellers, including Aetas, continue to roam around the streets of Metro Manila, like in Quezon City and San Juan, despite the announcement of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to "reach out" to them and send them back home or be temporarily kept in a halfway house.
A group of Aetas ABS-CBN News chanced upon in San Juan, identified themselves as natives of Zambales and were bearing a placard that reads "Happy New Year."
"Namamasko... hanggang bukas lang," one of them said when asked about their purpose here in Manila.
One of the Aetas claimed, they walked all the way from Zambales on Wednesday and reached Manila today.
In Quezon City near Welcome Rotonda, a group of young street dwellers also thrive.
Jundel Soriano, 21, said they have been interviewed by DSWD representatives several times and were assured that they will be plucked out from the street in favor of a decent home.
His partner, 20-year old Joy, said they ran away from home because her parents disapproved of her relationship with Jundel.
Aside from Jundel's 12-year-old brother, the couple also acts as parents to at least five other street children who claimed that they ran away from home because of abusive relatives.
But Mary Macol, whose husband works as a DSWD street sweeper, opts to live in her cart because of "violent" neighbors who always hurt her child, she said.
Meanwhile, couple Liza Dela Cruz, 39, and Freddie Reyes, 45, who also lives in a cart in another part of Quezon City say they would be glad to be taken care of by the DSWD.
However, they were released after several days of being under custody.
Last Tuesday, social workers and policemen "rescued" at least 100 street dwellers in Manila, a month before the country hosts the Miss Universe pageant.
An official from DSWD said the round-up was part of the city's preparation for the international pageant.
"Ako po sana bahay lang talaga... hirap na hirap na po kasi talaga ako eh," Dela Cruz, who has been living on the streets for the past 19 years, pleaded.
Reyes, on the other hand, prayed for a decent job since his former job as a construction worker disappeared after his father died.
The couple has a 19-year-old daughter and a granddaughter who help them earn by selling Sampaguita flowers.