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On the Anti-Mendicancy Law

In June 2010, City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte strengthened the city's task force
against mendicancy with Executive Order 7 that reorganizes the
composition and functions of the Davao City Anti-Mendicancy Task Force.

Duterte noted that "there is a need to re-organize the Anti-Mendicancy
Task Force to address all concerns pertaining to social problem and to
provide appropriate services to enable mendicants to meet basic needs
and develop self-reliance."

The executive order states mendicancy "has continued to become a social
problem in Davao City and in other urban areas in the country."
"Mendicancy breeds crime, creates traffic hazards, endangers health,
among others," the order said.
The order is grounded on Presidential Decree (PD) 1563, which defines a
mendicant as any person who has no visible and legal means of support, or
lawful employment and who is physically able to work but neglects to apply
himself to some lawful calling and instead uses begging as a means of
living.
The city's Anti-Mendicancy Task Force shall be composed of the city mayor as its
chair, City Council on Social Services as the vice-chair, City Social Services and
Development Office as the secretariat.
Its members will be representatives from: the Department of Internal and Local
Governance City Office, Women & Children Protection Desk-DCPO, barangay
Community and Cultural Affairs Commission, Philippine Information Agency, City
Information Office, Davao Medical Center-Psychiatry Department, United Church of
Christ in the Philippines-Social Concerns, San Pedro College, Rotary Club of
Downtown Davao.
Also members are Caritas Davao Foundation-Social Action Ministry, Department of
Education, Jesus Christ Children's Joy Foundation, Association of Differently Abled
Persons, Office for Senior Citizens Affairs, Association for Differently Abled Persons,
Office of Senior Citizens Affairs, Association of Barangay Camptain chair, Quick
Response Team for Children Center, Davao School and Rehabilitation Center for
the Visually Impaired, Traffic Management Center, and the City Health Office.
They will have the following functions:
* plan, implement and monitor yearly work programs in pursuance to the objectives
of the law;
* be responsible for the implementation of the integrated network of appropriate
services to mendicants;
* draw a list of available and required services which can be provided to mendicants;
* mobilize the different local agencies and NGOs to identify activities within their
program which can be undertaken for the mendicants;
* maintain a regular update on a quarterly basis a registry of mendicants;
* sustain city-wide Anti-mendicancy education and information drive in collaboration
with government organizations and private sector to create awareness on the
mendicancy program. The barangay assembled shall likewise be utilized as medium
for community information;
* conduct regular rounding up of mendicants and arrest exploiters/syndicate leaders
if any;
* provide appropriate medical, dental, and health services to apprehended
mendicants; and
* perform such other functions and discharge such other duties and responsibilities
as maybe necessary or incidental to the implementation of this order.

While there is an existing national law and an ordinance that prohibits the
public from giving alms to beggars, these mendicants continue to exist
because there are still people who support their illegal activities.
- Presidential Decree 1563 was issued by then President Ferdinand
Marcos in June 11, 1978 to control and eradicate mendicancy and
providing penalties against violators. This was, however, not strictly
implemented by authorities.

- The Anti-Mendicancy Law of 1978 applies to mendicants of all ages,
including infants or children who are eight years old and below, found
begging and the parents of exploited infants and children.


- The main purpose of creating the law is to stop mendicancy, prevent
the exploitation of infants and children through mendicancy and to
provide rehabilitative services for those already exploited or in
immediate danger of exploitation.

- The law defines mendicants as those persons who have no visible
and legal means of support, or lawful employment and who are
physically able to work but neglect to apply themselves to some
lawful calling and instead use begging as a means of living.
An exploited infant or child also refers to an infant or child eight years and
below who is used in begging or one who accompanies a habitual vagrant
or beggar.
When Presidential Decree 1563 was created 35 years ago, the government
already knew that there is an immediate need to provide appropriate
services to enable mendicants to meet their basic needs and develop self-
reliance, but the government enforcers failed to implement it.
Section 4 of the Anti-Mendicancy Law provides that infants or children
below eight years old who are found begging or being used by a mendicant
for purposes of begging shall be rescued as a neglected child under the
Child and Youth Welfare Code.
The law further provides that these children shall be brought immediately to
the custody and care of the Department of Social Services and
Development now called Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD).
- Cebu has its own anti-mendicancy law.
- While the law provides that the apprehended or rescued beggars
and mendicants shall be brought to DSWD, such work has been
devolved already to the local government units.
- But Cebu City does not have a center where the rescued mendicants
and exploited children can be housed. There is a so-called Cebu City
Community Scout Center and the Parian Drop-in Center where child
beggars and mendicants are being cared for, but it cannot
accommodate many persons.
While the law penalizes the beggars and mendicants, it also imposes fines
to anybody who give alms directly to the mendicants, exploited infants and
minors on public roads, sidewalks, parks and in other public places.
The DSWD has been tasked by the law to conduct an intensified
information campaign to educate the public that they only contribute to
lawful fund raising projects and prevent the community in giving alms,
except if it will be done through organized and legitimate agencies.