“We appeal to our kababayans not to give alms to children and families on the streets” — DSWD - The Daily Sentry

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

“We appeal to our kababayans not to give alms to children and families on the streets” — DSWD

Photo from The Philippine Star
To curb the already habitual behavior, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday, cautions the public to refrain from giving alms to street beggars, saying that there are other beneficial ways to extend a helping hand this season of giving.

DSWD Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova, in a statement, said, “We appeal to our kababayans especially here in Metro Manila not to give alms to children and families on the streets, as this will perpetuate their beliefs that it is OK to ask for alms and that it is a good way to earn.”

Relova maintained that the agency had since been monitoring the increase in numbers of street dwellers during the yuletide season as many naïve people becomes susceptible in giving out ‘loose change’, thinking that it is simply a ‘generous act’.

“Starting October, we usually see our fellow citizens who are Aetas and Sama-Bajaus go to Metro Manila to ask for alms, as it is a means of livelihood for them,” the agency official said.
Photo from Inquirer.net
“If quick cash won’t be accessible to them, they will not pursue this practice anymore,” Relova added.

The agency urged the public to engage in their official initiative to help the homeless through its #HelptheHomelessPH advocacy campaign instead of simply giving alms.

Relova said anyone who’s interested may organize gift – giving events or facilitate a simple reach – out activity, among others, especially medical missions and feeding programs.

“What we also encourage is for the public to help us in developing programs for street dwellers and to give to our centers, non-government organizations and other charitable institutions that provide comprehensive services for street children and families,” Relova said, adding that more than a handful of indigenous peoples from their respective regions venturing the big city to simply ‘beg’ are also being supported through their ‘Balik – Probinsya Program.’

“The Silungan sa Barangay project will be pilot-tested in cities and municipalities here in Metro Manila. Under this project, the DSWD aims to have processing centers for street dwellers in the LGUs or a temporary home or ‘silungan’,” Relova added.
Photo from Inquirer.net

"Mendicant" refers to any person, who has no visible and legal means of support, or lawful employment and who is physically able to work but neglects to apply himself to some lawful calling and instead uses begging as a means of living.

As such, a “Habitual Mendicant” refers to one who has been convicted of mendicancy.

While the fear of being mugged while fumbling for money to beggars is often times the case, not so many Pinoys are aware that there is an existing Law that ‘prohibits’ individuals to give ‘alms’ to street dwellers.

Known as the Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1563, the Mendicancy Law of 1978  or the Anti – Mendicancy Law was signed by the late President Ferdinand Marcos which states that that giving alms to the needy people who take to the streets to ask for alms is not the right way to help them, but instead, it would only lead to the ballooning of the number of beggars along major streets in the country.

It goes to say, according to the law, that giving alms would only make beggars think that they don’t need to find a decent job anymore to earn money for a living as they could easily make money by asking people for it through begging in the streets.
Aside from its goal to control and eradicate mendicancy, it also promotes social justice and protection of life, property, and dignity of the citizens of the Philippines.

Aggressive beggars and con artists deliberately dressing down for sympathy are a scourge on our streets and sap sympathy for the others. However, isn’t it better to be ripped-off occasionally by a professional institution, than fail to help a needy person?

Giving to charity, rather than individuals, helps more than one person, and charities can tackle complex and interrelated problems such as mental illness and illegal drug abuse.


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Source: philstar.com