With Christmas come hordes of beggars. Social workers planning to augment their incomes. Tribal leaders agree to send them back

Beggars flock to Metros around Christmas.

PICs courtesy: Freeimages.com

PICs courtesy: Freeimages.com

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Christmas approaches and so does the tropical storm Nina. But, there is another thing that is approaching. It is a horde of beggars who makes a beeline for the more affluent cities and provinces, Metro Manila for one.

Most noteworthy is the fact that it is not a one-off thing; it is an annual feature here.

Most of the beggars are mainly from particular communities like the Sama-Bajau and the Aeta communities. They converge around Christmas to beg in the streets of Metro manila and nearby provincial areas.

They come in droves and are highly organized into smaller groups like seasonal migratory birds. These travellers hail mostly from the regions surrounding Zamboanga and Central Luzon.

In addition, this is a socio-economic problem and social workers want to put a stop to this traditional annual practice. This is not a small excursion; a lot of preparations go into it.

The first step, normally, is to find conveyance and fit it up with decorations. These preparations may start as early as September.

Their jeepneys carry banners proclaiming them as an excursion or an educational tour along with Merry Christmas placards. Nonie Metran, the Welfare Organiser for Quezon City, revealed this.

He appreciated the craftsmanship of the colorful signboards and wondered whether someone guided them in their work. They also rounded up About 300 beggars near the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines.

The leader of the AETAS agreed to ask his people to retreat to their homes provided the authorities arrange buses.

This prompted a hurried campaign and they took the Aetas to;
1. Panganisan,
2. Subic in Zambales, and
3. Camiling in Tarlac.

Bajaus travel by ship from Sulu and Zamboanga to gather at a common point like Laguna or Batangas. Then, they move to the Metros.

The Department of social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is gearing up to tackle this annual problem that carries nuisance value. Their Secretary Judi Taguiwalo explained about various innovative steps adopted to prevent their visits.

Furthermore, civic groups and DSWD officials go to their tribal areas so that they need not go begging.

First of all, DSWD plans to take people to these tribal areas so that they can have some income regularly.

Thelma Biolena, DSWD Director narrated a similar initiative in the past when they convinced the leaders of the Mangyan from Mindoro not to bring their people to Metro Manila to beg.

Consequently, they provided them with sources of income at their doorstep.

The DSWD prohibits the giving of alms since it encourages begging; they request them to donate to charities.

In conclusion, that is another social story folks.

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Umrao singh
Friday, December 23, 2016
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson