The city government of Manila led by Mayor Joseph Estrada will ask the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Manila Police District to permanently station enough men along Roxas Boulevard and other major city roads to drive away street people, including illegal vendors.
With Christmas fast approaching, Estrada noted the increasing number of vagrants at Baywalk and at local public parks and promenade areas, mostly Badjaos asking for alms and hawkers selling everything from street food to trinkets.
Estrada, citing Presidential Decree No. 1563 or the Mendicancy Law of 1978, stressed that City Hall is only trying to ensure the safety and welfare of both the public and the mendicants from criminal elements and road hazards.
“To do this, we need the help of other agencies such as the MMDA to back up our city police force and social welfare unit,” Estrada said, citing the recommendation of Manila Department of Social Welfare chief Nanet Tanyag.
The constant presence of uniformed law enforcers in the streets would serve as a deterrent to vagrants, illegal vendors, and especially petty criminals such as robbers and snatchers taking advantage of the Christmas season, he stressed.
Tanyag said the MDSW’s regular rescue and clearing operations have somehow reduced the proliferation of homeless people in the city but many of them would just come right back when no authorities are around
“We will recommend to MMDA chief [Danny] Lim and the MPD to deploy their personnel to drive away these street dwellers, beggars, and illegal vendors,” she said.
“They just keep coming back but when they see uniformed policemen or MMDA operatives, they leave,” Tanyag added.
Recent incidents have seen foreigners and tourists strolling along Baywalk being harassed by beggars and street children asking for money; some have lost valuable items such as mobile phones to snatchers and thieves, she said.
Along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard alone, about 50 or more homeless individuals have been roaming around and pestering people, some even carrying infants and children.
“It is illegal to beg, live on the streets, and sell illegally in the streets,” Tanyag said, citing the Anti-Mendicancy law that penalizes “habitual mendicants” with fines ranging from P500 to P1,000 or prison term of two to four years.
Tanyag also reminded the public not to give money to beggars to reduce mendicancy in the streets.