Labella orders rescue of homeless individuals, mendicants
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, ordered the rescue of homeless individuals here.
The mayor said in a press conference on Tuesday morning that he noticed an increasing number of homeless individuals and mendicants roaming the streets of the city, which is currently under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
This, according to the mayor, poses a risk of spreading the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) since they tend to crowd public places and sidewalks.
“Atong gidirect and City Administrator, ang Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS), ang PROBE(Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement), ug ang City Health pag rescue niini atong homeless kay maka violate unya ta sa atong social distancing protocols kung ato sila pasagdan,” said the mayor.
(We have directed the City Administrator, the DSWS, the PROBE, and the City Health to rescue these homeless individuals because we might violate our social distancing protocol if we leave them be.)
The DSWS has been tasked to profile all rescued homeless individuals and process their trips back to the local government unit (LGU) they come from.
The mayor added that a halfway house will be established in the next few weeks for the homeless individuals who will be rescued off the streets of the city. The homeless individuals will be taken cared of in this halfway house while their trips to their respective towns are being processed. The mayor assured the public that the city government will facilitate and fund their trips back to their respective homes.
Since there has been a rise of minors begging on the streets as well, the mayor has instructed the same agencies to rescue the begging children, bring them home, and issue warnings and citations to parents.
He reminded the public that there is an anti-mendicancy ordinance that prohibits begging and giving to beggars on the streets as this would only encourage dependence. These beggars should be brought to the DSWS for assistance, instead.
Parents who allow their children to beg especially under MGCQ, where minors and below 21-years-old are not allowed to go out, will be cited in violation of this ordinance.
The penalty for the anti-mendicancy ordinance ranges from P500 to P3,000 plus jail time of up to one month.
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