‘Don’t give to beggars – there are better ways to help this Christmas’

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beggars

Kind-hearted people have been urged not to give alms to street beggars, and instead look at other ways of helping the poor this Christmas.

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Glenda Relova, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said: “We appeal to our kababayans [compatriots] especially here in Metro Manila not to give alms to children and families on the streets, as this will perpetuate their beliefs that it is OK to ask for alms and that it is a good way to earn.

“We understand that during the Christmas season, people give extra love and care. They are more generous as this is the season of giving. But let us not give alms. We believe it is not the best solution.”

Relova said the DSWD always sees a sharp increase in the number of street dwellers over the Christmas season. “Starting October, we usually see our fellow citizens who are Aetas and Sama-Bajaus [indigenous groups] go to Metro Manila to ask for alms, as it is a means of livelihood for them.

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“If quick cash won’t be accessible to them, they will not pursue this practice anymore.”

Other ways to help beggars

Instead of giving alms to beggars, the DSWD urged people to take part in their initiatives to help the homeless through its #HelptheHomelessPH advocacy campaign.

Relova said individuals or groups could organise gift-giving events or reach-out activities, as well conduct art or story-telling and even feeding programmes and medical missions.

“What we also encourage is for the public to help us in developing programmes for street dwellers and to give to our centres, non-government organisations and other charitable institutions that provide comprehensive services for street children and families,” she added.

As well as an increase in street beggars, the Christmas season in the Philippines also comes with a spike in crime rates.

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