DSWD: Stop almsgiving for beggars’ sakes | Inquirer News

DSWD: Stop almsgiving for beggars’ sakes

/ 05:48 AM November 24, 2023

beggar beggars begging mendicant mendicancy

A beggar starts his day outside Baclaran church in Parañaque City. —JOAN BONDOC

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday said it has been taking a “holistic approach” in handling street dwellers, urging the public to refrain from giving money to street beggars because it has already expanded its program to address this.

DSWD spokesperson Romel Lopez told reporters in a media forum that the agency has tapped the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to join them in “Oplan Pag-Abot,” a DSWD program aimed to provide intervention to street dwellers.


READ: Pampanga’s capital to penalize almsgiving with minimum fine of P3,000

The intervention includes “Balik-Probinsya” or shouldering their expenses in going back to their hometown in the provinces from places like Metro Manila and even possibly endorsing them to qualify for other DSWD programs like the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps), the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).


By including CHR in their program, Lopez pointed out this was to ensure the rights of the street dwellers would be well-protected as state social workers would assist them to return to their home provinces.

“So, for these interventions under ‘Oplan Pag-Abot,’ we are now taking a holistic approach and we are calling on them to refrain from soliciting money as this is against our laws,” Lopez said.

He cited Presidential Decree No. 1563, or the Mendicancy Law, which prohibits begging and giving into begging. Punishments for violating this include a fine of P1,000 or four years maximum imprisonment.

“But then, they can no longer say the government is not giving anything to them. As I have said, they can even be beneficiaries of the SLP, 4Ps, and AICS and we can even bring them back to their home provinces,” Lopez said.

“The national government, through the DSWD and the Metro Manila Council, has been providing assistance for them [street dwellers], so, we are trying to provide an enabling environment of opportunities so let us stop soliciting,” he added.

Lopez also said that some beggars on the streets may or are already being used by syndicates, which worries the DSWD leadership.


“One thing is for sure, if we catch anyone taking advantage of the street dwellers, we will hold them accountable,” he said.


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TAGS: beggars, DSWD

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