“Mendicancy is a crime” says DSWD

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BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here has reiterated that the act of begging or mendicancy is a violation of the Philippine law. DSWD-CAR OIC Regional Director Janet P. Armas said that this is based on Presidential Decree (PD) 1563 also known as the Mendicancy Law of 1978.

PD 1563 aims to promote social justice and protection of life, property, and dignity that might be threatened by rampant mendicancy where there is an immediate need to provide appropriate services to enable mendicants to meet their basic needs for self- reliance.

Moreover, the law defines a mendicant as any person who has no visible and legal means of support, or lawful employment and who is physically able to work but neglects to apply himself to some lawful calling and instead uses begging as means of living.

“We usually see physically able mendicants roaming our streets and asking for monetary donations. They are usually in places with high number of visitors like Baguio City. With this, we would like to ask the public, especially the tourists, to be very discerning when giving assistance to these mendicants .We would like to ask the public to refrain from giving alms to the mendicants especially those who are physically able to work because it is when we give them money that they are motivated to continue begging and make it as their source of income. The DSWD and the LSWDOs are willing to give them the necessary assistance.” Director Armas highlighted.

However, mendicants who are considered as persons with disabilities (PWDs) or any person who is found begging and who is physically or mentally incapable of gainful occupation shall be provided necessary services by the DSWD, local social welfare development offices (LSWDOs) of local governments and other cooperating agencies.

“If we really want to help these people, we should report their situation to the nearest local social welfare and development office in the area so that they will be provided with the necessary interventions.” Director Armas shared.

Recently, the DSWD here and Baguio City Social Welfare and Development Office were able to turn over 89 Badjaos to DSWD Field Office III. Per interview, these Badjaos are residents of San Fernando, Pampanga but were found begging in the City.

Assistance that can be provided to mendicants include livelihood, financial, and shelter assistance however, provision of such will still be based on their assessed needs as identified by licensed social workers in the area. Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva

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