The Davao City government has urged the public to refrain from giving alms to street mendicants.
Lawyer Marissa Gallo, the head of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), it is not safe to give alms to street beggars in time of the pandemic.
“Almsgiving may require physical contact and we know that we can get the virus that way. With the current situation, we do not know if one is a carrier of the virus or not. So it is better not to have close contact with anyone,” she said.
She added that entertaining street beggars also affects flow of traffic.
“Their presence on the streets may lead to road accidents. The more we give to them, the more they stay on the streets. So let us avoid these accidents from happening.”
Instead, Gallo said Dabawenyos can extend their help to street mendicants by contacting CSWDO to organize the distribution of donations.
“Mao gyuy na pinaka maayo nga pamaagi para mapaundang sila sa kadalanan, kita mismo kung mangayo sila dili unta ta mohatag para dili na sila magbalik-balik sa kadalanan (That is the best thing that we can do to stop this practice, we must not give them alms so they don’t keep coming back to the streets),” said Gallo.
Gallo said people can contact CSWDO for their in-kind donations through (082) 227-1617, (082) 295-3500, and (082) 225-0417(Telefax).
“Hangyo ko sa mga tao kanang hangyo ko sa mga good samaritan nga kaigsuonan nga kung gusto mo motabang, pwede mo coordinate diri sa atong opisina sa CSWDO (I am appealing to the public, all the good samaritans, our brothers and sisters who want to help, they can coordinate here in the CSWDO).
The CSWDO is doubling its efforts to rescue children and adults roaming around the city streets, especially those who are asking for alms. Rescued children are endorsed to the Quick Response Team for Children’s Concern (QRTCC) while those of age can be filed with cases in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1563 or the Anti-Mendicancy Law.
Section 4 of PD 1563, mendicants shall be provided the integrated package of services by the Department of Social Services and Development, the Welfare units of local governments, and other cooperating agencies.
Gallo noted that mendicants can also be, upon their conviction, punished by a fine not exceeding P500.00 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 2 years or both at the discretion of the court.
Section 5 of the law also states that any person who abets mendicancy by giving alms directly to mendicants, exploited infants, and minors on public roads, sidewalks, parks, and bridges shall be punished by a fine not exceeding P20.00. CIO