The public is discouraged from giving any amount of money to children doing street caroling, especially along risky streets and highways.
The City Social Services and Development Office said that street caroling, without any permit issued by the local government unit and the Department of Social Welfare and Development , if it involved children, is prohibited by law.
CSSDO head Malou Bermudo said in an interview that the prohibition is covered by the Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1563 or the Mendicancy Law of 1978 that aims to prevent the practice of mendicancy and the exploitation of infants and children through such. It also aims to provide rehabilitation for mendicants through the provision of comprehensive developmental package of services.
Meanwhile PD 1564 or the Solicitation Permit Law, any individuals or organizations conducting solicitation must seek permit from DSWD or the LGU in the area of concern. Legal sanctions may be implemented to those who will fail to comply.
“If we look into the law, any solicitation through means of caroling must have a cause that would be beneficial or charity,” Bermudo said.
Among the reported risky areas for carolers are along Ma-a Diversion Road wherein vehicle drivers throw out coins on the road and picked up by children which results to accidents.
However, Bermudo said that the area is now rarely visited by carolers.
Common areas for street carolers are in Southern Philippines Medical Center – Institute of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, located in Claveria, where most children are visibly seen during stoplight turns red.
According to the CSSDO head, a quick response team for children is tasked to conduct rescue surveillance on these areas.
She then seeks the help of the barangay and the public in reporting these children loitering on the streets to ensure their safety.