Pampanga’s capital to penalize almsgiving with minimum fine of P3,000
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines — This capital city of Pampanga province warned that anybody caught giving alms to beggars and mendicants will be fined at least P3,000, as it moved for the “strict implementation” of its 7-year-old ordinance prohibiting almsgiving.
“Anyone who is caught giving alms will be fined (P3,000-P5,000),” the city government said in a social media post on Friday night.
Mayor Vilma Caluag had ordered the implementation of City Ordinance No. 2016-024 and Presidential Decree No. 1563, also known as the Mendicancy Law issued by the late President Ferdinand Marcos in 1978, to keep the city roads safe for motorists and the general public by discouraging the presence of beggars who roam the streets asking for alms.
Rescued street children
Instead of giving alms to mendicants, the city government urged the public to course their assistance through the city social welfare office, which has ongoing programs for mendicants, particularly those who are residents of the city.
The city’s programs included the rounding up of street children and road beggars for intervention.
Some of the rescued street kids were given education through an alternative learning system while some city resident mendicants were given livelihood training.
Beggars from other localities were sent back to their respective places of origin, including the Aetas from the upland areas of western Pampanga towns.
Several residents have criticized on social media the city government’s announcement, saying that penalizing individuals for helping beggars contradicts Christian laws.
In nearby Angeles City, which started strictly implementing its own anti-mendicancy law last May, about half of the some 500 rounded-up mendicants were sent back to their respective families in different villages of the city and other towns and provinces.
The other half were housed in city and national government care and rehabilitation facilities.
While San Fernando imposes a fine of at least P3,000 on an almsgiver, Angeles only collects a P20 fine from people caught giving money or food to mendicants.