The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance adopting a city development approach to mendicancy, creating a task force and defining its functions and appropriating funds for the said purpose.
Under the proposed ordinance, it will be a policy of the city government to adopt a development approach on mendicancy geared towards developing their self-reliance and their full human development as members of the society.
Further, the city shall exert all possibilities to extend support and services to the mendicants, including plans and programs geared towards their realization to be productive members of the community.
The body approved the creation of an anti-mendicancy task force which shall be composed of the City Mayor as chairperson and the Chairperson of the City Council Committee on Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Chairperson of the City Council Committee on Social Services, City Director of the Baguio city Police Office (BCPO), Medical Center Chief of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), Regional Director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-CAR), Provincial Director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Baguio-Benguet Provincial Office, City Director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Baguio field office, head of the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) Baguio-Benguet chapter, Regional Director of the Cordillera office of toe Commission on Human Rights (CHR-CAR), City Social and Development officer, City Health officer, head of the Office of Persons with Disabilities Affairs, head of the City Cooperative and Development office, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay and representatives of the frequented barangays in the central business district, representatives of the association of bus companies in the city, head of the Federation of persons with Disabilities in the city and representatives of non-government organizations.
The task force may create working committees or teams based on the line of services of the offices concerned to ensure the speedy delivery of services for the mendicants and realization of the plans and programs adopted.
The city government shall consider the establishment of a center or facility for mendicants for their long-term personal development. For the short-term plans, the city shall consider to identify facilities to be utilized by the apprehended mendicants and those needing to be transported.
The ordinance mandated the appropriation of some P500,000 annually from the budget of the local government for the realization of the objectives of the proposed measure. It shall be increased based on the needs to realize the plans and programs identified in the ordinance and that programs to be adopted by the task force.
Presidential Decree 1563 or the Mendicancy Law established a system for the control and eradication of mendicancy and penalized mendicants including those behind a person’s engagement in mendicancy.