THE Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD) in Bacolod City urged the public anew not to give alms to Badjaos to stop them from loitering around.
Maria Socorro Detangco, coordinator of the anti-mendicancy task force, said on Thursday, December 13, that from December 5 to 14, the DSSD and the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) rescued about 29 Badjaos, who were turned over to their hometown in Victorias and Sagay cities.
The Badjaos, who were asking alms on streets and jeepneys, were rescued from the areas of Libertad and downtown.
“We are so generous, but we should not tolerate them. They have their own houses in Sagay City, but they choose to beg here to support their family because we are so generous. If we will not give them alms, for sure they will return to their hometown,” Detangco said.
She said most of the Badjaos are using their babies for begging on the street and inside jeepneys.
“The anti-mendicancy task force is now intensifying its effort to reach out to the Badjaos for their own safety. Asking alms on streets and jeepneys are very dangerous so we should help the city by not tolerating them,” she said.
The DSSD also determined that Badjaos, composed of two groups, were sending money to Mindanao through a money-transfer after they recovered two receipts with a total amount of P21,000 and P17,000.
“They collected this money through begging, but they refused to reveal why they sent it to Mindanao. We cannot confirm if there’s someone behind them,” Detangco said.
Detangco noted that Bacolod has an existing ordinance establishing an integrated program for regulating mendicancy, providing penalties.
The anti-mendicancy law forbids begging or soliciting of charitable donations by the poor or religious organizations in the streets.
Those who will be caught giving alms will be fined P50.
Detangco said they will coordinate with the City Council for the possible amendment of City Ordinance No. 146 to increase the penalty.
Aside from Badjaos, the DSSD also rescued two children on Wednesday, December 12, who were caught sniffing solvents at Lizares Street. Both of them were turned over to the officials of Barangay Vista Alegre and they will set a dialogue with their parents.