Giving alms to beggars in city, discouraged

BAGUIO CITY – The public is advised not to give “palimos” or alms to vagrants or mendicants in the Summer Capital since this will only encourage them to be dependent on the kindness of strangers and go on begging, among others.

This was stressed by city social welfare and development office head Betty Fangasan during the Anti-Mendicancy Task Force meeting Thursday at the City Mayor’s Office that tackled the group’s reconstitution to address the continuous proliferation of mendicants in the city’s parks especially during Yuletide Season.

She suggested that instead of giving alms which would only perpetuate a culture of dependency, those wanting to help mendicants or vagrants can course their donations to accredited and reputable organizations whose mandates are to alleviate the plight of the latter.

Chaired by secretary to the Mayor Philip Puzon on behalf of Mayor Benjamin Magalong who was out of the country on official business, the meeting was attended by heads and representatives of various local government offices, agencies, transportation companies, and other concerned organizations.

Those present also reviewed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) earlier entered into by the different groups that spells out their functions and responsibilities targeted to address concerns and issues regarding mendicants and vagrants in the Summer Capital.

Their suggestions and recommendations will be incorporated by the CSWDO into the strengthening of the MOA to be signed by the parties concerned next week and presented to the Mayor for approval.

The agreement claims that the proliferation of mendicants here, particularly those coming from nearby provinces and municipalities has allegedly alarmed and created fear among local residents. It states that PD 1563 or the “Anti-Mendicancy Law” calls for the establishment of an Integrated System for the control and eradication of mendicancy.

“In order to achieve the objectives of accelerating the participation of the community towards the eradication of mendicancy and increasing public awareness on the role of the family, different sectors of society in their contribution to mental health, there is a need for the city to reactivate and strengthen the City Task Force on Anti-Mendicancy to be participated by government agencies, non-government agencies and the private sector,” the MOA states./Gaby Keith