BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan admitted a big-time syndicate is behind the influx of Badjao beggars in the city, especially at this time that the Yuletide season is just around the corner.
The local chief executive revealed the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and the City Social Welfare and Development Office (OCSWADO) have been doing their part in apprehending the beggars that flocked to the city and subsequently sent them back to their places of origin.
However, he cited most of the apprehended beggars are being maintained by a syndicate because upon the coordination with the social workers in the places that they gave them, it turned out that they were not from the said provinces.
“For those who provided our social workers with the accurate addresses and were sent back home by the city government, fortunately, they did not come back to do begging,” Domogan stressed.
On the other hand, he directed police operatives to get in touch with the parents of the Muslim children who have been rounded up along the city’s streets in order to inform them of the illegal activities that their children have been involved and for them not to allow their kids to be loitering around and resort to begging.
Based on interviews conducted by authorities to the apprehended beggars from outside the region, they are enticed to come to the city to beg because of the generosity of the people allowing them to earn substantial amounts that could sustain their living for several months, especially during the Yuletide season which is a time for giving.
Domogan asserted the city government does not tolerate begging because it is punishable by law but what is being done is to send the beggars back to their places of origin through the city’s Balik Probinsya Program.
Under the said program of the local government, the local government pays for the fare of the apprehended beggars from the city to their places of origin upon coordination with the concerned social workers.
Domogan instructed the police to arrest those beggars who do begging activities all over the central business district area because they also are considered hazards to the smooth flow of traffic.
He also appealed to local residents not to always give to the beggars because they make it a habit to come to the city and do their illegal activities that would affect the state of the city.
The city mayor underscored the importance of sustaining the apprehensions of the beggars and sending back to their places of origin time and again so that they will not be coming back to the city to do such activities that are not allowed under existing laws and regulations.
By Dexter A. See