DSWD urges public to obey Anti-Mendicancy Law

Philippine News Agency/FILE PHOTO
MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) spokesperson Romel Lopez on Thursday asked the public to refuse giving "limos" (alms) to street beggars in accordance with the Anti-Mendicancy Law.
During the Thursday Media Forum at the New Press Center of the DSWD Central Office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, Lopez appealed to the people to stop tolerating beggars on the street by giving alms, saying it would only encourage them to hang on with their begging activities.
Lopez, who is also the DSWD Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications, said violation of the Anti-Mendicancy Law undermines the implementation of Oplan Pag-Abot program, which seeks to address the worsening problem regarding individuals or families in street situations.
"Alam naman natin kung gaano ang panganib ng mga namamalimos sa lansangan lalo na para sa mga may kapansanan. Andyan 'yung mga may bitibit at akay-akay na mga musmos, merong mga may kasamang bulag na kumakatok sa mga kotse para humingi ng limos," he said.
(We know how risky it is for those beggars on the roads especially those with handicaps. There are those carrying infants along with small children, some are with blind ones who used to knock on car windows to ask for some penny.)
He said occasionally, some motorists even have figured in accidents trying to avoid these beggars, adding that tolerating them in the long term, would only tend to derail government programs, especially the Pag-Abot program.
"Ang layunin natin sa Pag-Abot ay upang mahimok nating lisanin ng mga persons and families na ito ang lansangan at tuluyan silang ibalik sa normal na pamumuhay," Lopez said.
(Our purpose for Pag-Abot is to convince these persons and families to leave the streets and bring them back to their normal lives.)
Meanwhile, Social Technology Bureau chief Marilyn Moral said since the Oplan Pag-Abot program started, the DSWD has already managed to send around 590 persons from the streets of Metro Manila, back to their home province.
About 1,064 of them are now sheltered at the DSWD's Centers and Residential Care Facilities.
Moral said talking with these persons in a street situation is not that simple because of the "human rights" component of the Program, which means that they have to convince them to voluntarily leave the street life.
"Bawal po ang pilitan dito," she added.
(Use of force is prohibited.)
Lopez, however, said this voluntary act on the part of these persons or families in street situations gave more challenge for the social workers.
He said tolerating beggars on the street would somehow make the Oplan Pag-Abot program more complicated which could make them play "hard to get" or hard to convince.
EO 52 strengthens Pag-Abot project
Moral said institutionalizing and expanding the Pag-Abot project through Malacañang's issuance of Executive Order (EO) 52 has significantly helped the DSWD in strengthening reach-out operations for FISS in Metro Manila.
She said EO 52 provides for collaborative efforts among government agencies from the national to the local levels in addressing the needs of FISS.
"We are expanding our reach, we are expanding our partnership with other agencies that will be able to help us," she said.
With EO 52 in place, Moral noted that other member-government agencies of the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) for the Pag-Abot project could easily intervene as the DSWD has already put up a reliable database.
"The database will be the basis for providing better access, not limiting what will be given, but rather, they can be accessed by others, whether it's the government, non-government entities, or local government units," she told reporters.
Moral said the rollout of the e-profiling tool makes it easier for social workers, who are interviewing individuals and families living and staying on the streets during their profiling activities, to update the client's information in real-time from a remote location using the enhanced technology.
"Now, since our goal is to digitize and streamline…the DSWD has already developed an e-profiling tool. We have piloted it and checked if it's possible, feasible, and it is indeed feasible," she said. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Feb-12 15.00 +0800