Cebu City PWD office ‘hard to reach’

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SunStar Local News

WHILE the mission of the Cebu City Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) is to help socially and economically needy individuals, families, groups and communities through “efficient, appropriate and timely intervention,” its current location away from City Hall needs to align with this thrust, sources said.

The location of the DSWS building in an outlying area along Katipunan St. in Barangay Labangon, south of Cebu City, has become a subject of scrutiny after City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco called for the relocation of its PWD (persons-with-disability) office to City Hall following a visit to the area last June 3, 2024.

Cuenco discovered that the PWD office, which is expected to provide frontline services, only had one functioning computer and troubles with its internet connection.

Cuenco’s visit was prompted by his earlier discovery that a “syndicate” was reportedly behind the sale of PWD IDs to able-bodied individuals at a range of P2,000 to P4,000.

Interviewed by SunStar Cebu, PWDs and senior citizens said they support Cuenco’s probe on the matter as well as moves to relocate the PWD office to City Hall.

“The location is not aligned with the department’s mission. It’s too far,” said a resident of Barangay Lorega San Miguel, whose father is a PWD who sought help from the DSWS only to be frustrated by his inability to locate the office.

“It was very hard for my father to navigate because it was his first time in the area hoping to avail of PWD discounts required for his surgery and medication,” said the man who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“He had to keep on asking for directions when it is already inherently challenging for PWDs due to their disabilities. At least, if it is in a convenient place, it will be easier for PWDs to go and maybe have more awareness of available services too,” he added.

For Mary Chris, who went to the DSWS office on behalf of her senior citizen parents to process requirements, the DSWS building is simply inaccessible.

“It’s difficult to get a ride to the location especially if you are not familiar with the area. It should be accessible and convenient,” she said.

“I think if the DSWS office is brought back to City Hall, monitoring of its operations will be easier and questionable transactions can be avoided,” said another resident of Barangay Banilad.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach DSWS officer-in-charge Portia Basmayor but she was unavailable for comments as of press time. / CDF


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