Public told: Don't give alms to beggars

PAMPANGA. An Aeta tribesman begs for alms to passing motorists along the intersection of Jose Abad Santos Avenue in the City of San Fernando and Mexico town, taking advantage of the upcoming holiday season. Despite a national law and local ordinance, this scene is still very common in some cities and towns in the province. (Chris Navarro)

CLARK FREEPORT -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterated its appeal to the public to refrain from giving alms to children in street situation, homeless individuals, and members of Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups.

This is pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) 1563, or the Anti-Mendicancy Law, which prohibits begging or soliciting of charitable donations by the poor and other religious organizations on the streets.

Instead of giving alms, especially during the coming Christmas season, the DSWD advised the public to provide responsible types of assistance, such as conducting organized gift-giving and caroling activities, feeding sessions, story-telling, and medical missions at activity centers in the local government units (LGUs) to keep street dwellers and IP groups away from mendicant activities that may endanger their lives.

Together with LGUs, the social agency operates and manages community-based child-friendly spaces or activity centers where children in street situation can play, learn, eat, bathe, and socialize as they are monitored and cared for by social workers and volunteers.

DSWD works hand-in-hand with LGUs, which are the primary responders in addressing the needs of street dwellers, by providing them with technical assistance and resource augmentation to efficiently and effectively deliver their services to the marginalized and poor sectors of society.

Through its field offices, DSWD provides programs for street dwellers under the Comprehensive Program for Street Children, Street Families, and Indigenous Peoples especially Sama-Bajaus.

The program features an integrated approach in responding to the needs of the children in street situation and their families, and Sama-Bajau members with the ultimate goal of contributing to the reduction of their vulnerabilities and mendicant activities.

The DSWD also implements the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF), an expansion of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which specifically caters to homeless families living on the streets.

Benefits under the MCCT-HSF include education and health grants; access to social services; economic opportunities; and rent subsidy for a period of six to 12 months or depending on the capability of the household-beneficiaries to improve their living condition.

A total of 201,526 homeless families are included in the program, as of July 31, 2019.


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