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DSWD urges public not to give alms on so-called 'Christmas beggars'

MANILA, Nov. 28 — With Christmas just 26 days away, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Juliano-Soliman has urged the public not to give alms to street children who are begging in the guise of caroling on the streets during the Yuletide season.

“Caroling on the streets is risky, especially for children who squeeze themselves between vehicles and tap on car windows, or those who jump from moving public utility vehicles, unmindful of the danger to their life and limb,” Soliman said.

She noted that the streets are not the proper places for caroling, stressing that caroling on the streets is tantamount to begging which is against the law.

The Anti-Mendicancy Law or Presidential Decree No. 1563 specifies that begging is against the law.

It covers exploited children who are forced by their parents, relatives or by syndicates to beg.

Soliman also said that parents who forced their children to beg are criminally liable under Article 59 of Presidential Decree 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code.

It states that parents who exploit a child by using him or her, directly or indirectly, for purposes of begging and other acts which are inimical to his interest and welfare shall be punishable with imprisonment of from two to six months or a fine not exceeding P500 or both at the discretion of the court.

“If we want to help the mendicants and street children, we must channel this through the proper government agencies, such as the DSWD, and non-government organizations,” the DSWD chief said. (PNA)

scs/PFN

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