Seniors, youths at Manila Boystown doing well despite lockdown since March 1

Seniors, youths at Manila Boystown doing well despite lockdown since March 1

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila city government closed the doors of Manila Boystown Complex early in March to protect the 320 elderly staying at the facility from the threat of the novel coronavirus.

Director Asuncion “Re” Fugoso, head of the Manila Department of Social Welfare, told that as early as March 1, Manila Boystown Complex has been on lockdown "to protect our elderly and the youth who are residents thereat."

Boystown currently has 320 senior citizens, 300 youths and 30 kids.

Fugoso said she also directed the Manila Youth Reception Center, a facility for Children in Conflict with the Law, locked down to prevent infection by the virus that causes the novel coronavirus disease.

She also said that the facilities "are cleaned and disinfected” periodically. She also said that Manila Boystown, which is actually in Marikina but run by the Manila city government, has enough food and other supplies.

Due to Manila Boystown Complex temporarily closing its doors, the Manila city official said that the city government has ordered the opening of the Leonardo Fugoso Sports Complex as a temporary shelter. 

The sports complex is currently housing the city's homeless and street dwellers who cannot be brought to the Manila Boystown Complex "to protect the health of our elderly."

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said last March 27 that breakfast, lunch and dinner is served at  Leonardo Fugoso Sports Complex, which was previously called the Delpan Complex. The facility has bathrooms and tents for street dwellers.

United Nations special rapporteur on the right of adequate housing Leilani Farha previously called on governments to undertake “extraordinary” measures to protect the homeless and informal settlers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Home has become the frontline defense against the coronavirus. Home as rarely been more of a life or death situation,” Farha said on March 18.

A Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism report said there are 3.1 million homeless in Metro Manila.

Donations welcome

Manila Boystown officer-in-charge Digna Punay also told in a phone call that they are well taken care of amid the lockdown.

“Everything is well and okay,” she said in a phone call.

Punay however said that they will still “gladly welcome” donations sent their way. Those who wish to do so may contact Fugoso at the Manila City government or the Boystown complex at (632) 788-5716.

The Philippines on Wednesday reported 106 new infections in the country, bringing total cases to 3,870.

Death toll is at 182, while 96 have so far recovered. — Kristine Joy Patag