THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Central Luzon recently held a Yuletide donors’ forum for Indigenous Peoples (IPs) while promoting the Anti-Mendicancy Law.

The forum, the DSWD-Central Luzon said, aims to maintain the Christmas spirit among IPs as they are more visible in the most populous places such as city streets and main highways, practicing mendicancy by asking for alms.

The annual Christmas scenario prompted the DSWD-Central Luzon to activate its campaign on Presidential Decree 1563 or the Anti-Mendicancy Law “Establishing an Integrated System for the Control and Eradication of Mendicancy, Providing Penalties, Appropriating Funds therefor, and for other purposes”. The law prohibits both the act of begging and giving of alms.

The said campaign aims to promote and protect the best interest of children. Aside from being exploited to seek sympathy from the public, they are also being placed in dangerous situations especially in the streets.

However, National Commission on indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Central Luzon medical officer III Dr. Emma Dionisio, shared that IPs do not consider this as begging but an act of “pakikipamasko.”

And since Christmas is the season for giving and sharing, the Anti-Mendicancy Task Force in Central Luzon conducted the second donors’ forum here where government agencies and private corporations banded together to offer IPs in Region III something to remember this Christmas.

The task force was able to put up P25,000 cash and in-kind pledges such as 100 family food packs worth P500 each, kitchen wares, school supplies, random donation boxes from several NGAs and more which they will deliver in the upland areas of the target IPs.

“Let’s extend our pagmamalasakit to them not because they are IPs but because they humans like us,” said Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Central Luzon director William Beltran.

Enjoined in the task force are DSWD, NCIP, PIA, Commission on Human Rights, Philhealth, Philippine National Police, Provincial and Local Government Agencies, FAITH Pharma, CLTV36, and the Kapampangan Development Foundation, among others.