DSWD chief orders Pag-Abot team to expedite full operation of new processing center in Pasay City

Department of Social and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian has immediately ordered agency personnel to expedite the full operation of the new Pag-Abot Program processing center in Pasay City following its ceremonial blessing on Monday (April 1).

“In 15-30 days, move in ready na tayo… para makabawas tayo sa mga care facilities (we should be ready to move in.. so we can reduce the number of people in care facilities),” Sec. Gatchalian said to the Pag-Abot Team during his inspection of the facility.

“It would lessen the burden of the DSWD-run centers and residential care facilities currently catering to the reached-out individuals,” he stressed.

The facility is situated at the second floor of a six-story building along Williams Street that used to be a Philippine Overseas Gaming Operation (POGO) firm.

The POGO firm was raided by an anti-human trafficking task force led by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in October 2023.

It was repurposed by the DSWD into a processing center for its reach-out operations in Metro Manila.

Secretary Gatchalian said the new facility will also serve as a temporary shelter for families and individuals in street situations (FISS) before they are reintegrated into their families.

The designated processing center for the Pag-Abot program has 167 rooms, where initial intake procedures, profiling, interviews, and assessment of reached-out individuals and families will be conducted by social workers.

Once fully-operational, the center will also offer a range of services, including temporary housing, a family area, a child-friendly space, a breastfeeding area, and a Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) registration booth.

Meanwhile, Sec. Gatchalian noted that proper infrastructure inspection still needs be conducted to ensure that the facility is safe from hazards like fire incidents, among others.

“Ang dating sa akin, sa ating mga room, kailangan may gagawin… I-fire proof natin ito kasi may mga electric box,” Sec. Gatchalian said.

(The way I see it, in our rooms, there’s something that needs to be done… We need to fireproof it because there are electric boxes.)

Joining Sec. Gatchalian during the ceremonial blessing and inspection were DSWD Undersecretary for Innovations Edu Punay, Assistant Secretary for Statutory Programs Ada Colico, and Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, and Attached and Supervised Agencies (ASAs) Elaine Fallarcuna, as well as Social Technology Bureau (STB) Director Marcelo Nicomedes Castillo and Director Rowela Hizon of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Statutory Program.

Launched in July 2023 as a priority program of Secretary Gatchalian, the Pag-Abot Program is currently being implemented in Metro Manila to reach out to people living and staying on the streets and provide them with the appropriate interventions, as well as opportunities to improve their social and economic status and fulfill their fundamental rights.

It was institutionalized by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. through Executive Order (EO) No. 52 to further enhance and unify the delivery of services to vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors in street situations through the provision of social safety nets. (DSWD)