AN ELDERLY woman, who was among 62 persons apprehended Monday for violating the anti-mendicancy ordinance of the Cebu City Government, paid the fine of P1,000.
Dr. Lucelle Mercado, chairman of Cebu City Anti-Mendicancy Board (CCAMB) and former city administrator, said the elderly woman, who was escorting a visually impaired male senior citizen, was caught begging for alms near the traffic lights along the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) compound on Salinas Drive.
CCAMB personnel learned that the woman had P1,600 in cash in her bag believed to be the proceeds of their begging activity, a gold necklace, watch and earrings.
During the operation conducted by the CCAMB on Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, only four persons, including the elderly woman, were issued citation tickets as the rest were just made to undergo profiling, community service and later released late afternoon of the same day for not being able to pay the fine.
Among those apprehended were minors from the cities of Toledo and Mandaue who were rescued by their parents. Majority of the minors apprehended were from Cebu City, though.
Mercado said those who will be caught begging for the third time will be charged by the city government.
The Cebu City Anti-Mendicancy Board (CCAMB), which is composed of the City Social Welfare and Services, City Health Department, City Environmental Sanitation and Enforcement Team (Ceset), and Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) team, has been launched to enforce the law that imposes a punishment on persons who beg for money, especially during Christmas and Fiesta Señor.
Last Dec. 22, the city’s Department of Social Welfare and Services head, Dr. Ester Concha, had said there were more than 700 families considered mendicants and that it was about time that the City started issuing citation tickets to implement the more than two-decade-old anti-mendicancy ordinance.
Mayor Michael Rama has ordered to strengthen the implementation of City Ordinance 1631 or the anti-mendicancy ordinance in line with his objective to make Cebu City like Singapore.
Under City Ordinance 1631, which was enacted in 1996, both the giving of and the begging for alms in public places including private and public vehicles is prohibited. (PAC, TPT)