MANILA, Philippines – This Christmas season, the Quezon City government assisted 80 street dwellers, which included 6 Aeta families found along E. Rodriguez Avenue to Kamuning Market.
The city’s Social Services Development Department (SSDD) and Task Force Disiplina processed the street dwellers and provided them with ‘Pamaskong Handog’ of food and grocery items.
Afterward, the SSDD coordinated with bus companies to allow the Aeta families, or a total of 19 individuals, to go back to their hometowns. Of the 6 families, 4 were from Porac, Pampanga, while 2 were from Iba, Zambales.
In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the SSDD also informed the street dwellers about existing regulations and penalties, including Executive Order No. 1563 which banned mendicancy and penalizes those who use infants and minors in begging for alms.
“Dati we’re not strict with the law, pero ngayon we will strictly enforce it. Bawal ang namamalimos especially kung dala ay mga bata. That’s child abuse,” Belmonte said.
(We were not strict with the law before, but now we will strictly enforce it. Begging is prohibited especially if there is a child in tow. That’s child abuse.)
Moreover, the SSDD found out that some of the street dwellers were beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the government’s conditional cash grant program.
“We are currently gathering more data to help us develop better intervention programs to address this yearly concern,” Belmonte said in a Facebook post.
For 2020, the Quezon City government allocated P12.3 billion or nearly half of its budget for social services. – Rappler.com