MANILA Police have rescued close to 1,000 members of indigenous peoples, who were begging for alms during the Yuletide season , National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head, Police Director Guillermo Eleazar said on Monday.
Eleazar said that from Dec. 11 up to 5 a.m. Monday (Dec. 24), Metro police undetook a total of 126 rescue operations that resulted in the rescue of 967 persons, 385 of whom were adults, or 39.81 percent, and 582 minors or 60.19 percent.
This figure includes 210 members (21.72%) of the Aeta community, 148 members (15.31%) of the Badjao community and 609 (62.98%) others.
Based on NCRPO data as of 5 a.m. Monday, a total of 199 rescued Aetas and Badjaos are minors.
Eleazar, said that from the same period, Manila Police District (MPD) rescued 349 indigenous person, or 36.09 percent of the total; Quezon City Police District (QCPD), rescued 322, or 33.30 percent; Southern Police District (SPD) with 213 (22.03 percent); Eastern Police District (EPD) with 57 rescued persons (5.89 percent); and the Northern Police District (NPD) with 26 (2.69 percent).
He said these operations comply with Presidential Decree 1563, or the Mendicancy Law of 1978.
The Metro Manila police chief said that those rescued are immediately subjected to medical examination and eventually turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The move, he said, aims to assist the indigenous peoples so they could go back to their respective communities.
Earlier, the NCRPO chief said that he also tasked his commanders to regularly coordinate with barangay officials for the presence of beggars on the streets.
Eleazar has ordered his men to conduct rescue operations of indigenous peoples, who usually go to Metro Manila in flocks during Christmas season to beg.
The official said the operation is not a form of discrimination against the indigenous peoples since his order includes the regular beggars roaming around the busy streets of Metro Manila.
Eleazar explained that they have two main reasons why they have to rescue the street beggars.
First, he said that the police operation was actually a form of keeping the street beggars safe since it was a common observation that they usually carry with them infants and children in asking for alms on thoroughfares.
There are even reports that children are chasing passenger jeepneys and even playing on the streets which is very dangerous as they may be hit by vehicles, Eleazar said.
He added that the children also suffer since they would just sleep on the sidewalks or under the flyovers or trees alongside the road.
Second, he said that since beggars would go to streets in groups, it was also observed that they cause traffic jams, especially in busy intersections. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency