Badjaos in Malaybalay City Bukidnon – boon or bane?

MALAYBALAY CITY | BUKIDNON ONLINE | BUKIDNON NEWS | COMMENTARY – One of the things that was discussed during the recently concluded fellowship cum transition of incoming and outgoing Malaybalay City officials was the seemingly increasing number of Badjaos in the city.

For those unfamiliar with Badjaos, they are more popularly known as the “Sea Gypsies” of the Celebes and Sulu Sea. They usually have hair several shades lighter than most (since they’re “men of the seas”) and apparently these days several of them have “invaded” Malaybalay City and have become beggars.

In fact, during the fellowship night, the city social welfare and development officer admitted that she asked some of these Badjaos as to why they chose Malaybalay City as their newest “area.” She said that their answer was simple: because they were not welcome in both Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

We’re guessing that means these Badjaos feel more “welcome” in the City of Malaybalay, the capital of Bukidnon.

There’s actually a law on anti-mendicancy (practice of begging/giving of alms to beggars). Authored by the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the anti-mendicancy law is also known as the Presidential Decree No. 1563.

However, the problem lies on the efficient implementation of it. Which brings to mind – how exactly do you implement a law like that without letting it appear as if you’re the bad one for not helping out a fellowman?

Ah…but then again, isn’t it the responsibility of the city social welfare and development office and other concerned government agencies to implement the law?

Under the law, giving of alms and begging for alms are both punishable.

So how does Malaybalay City and the other areas here in Bukidnon answer a problem like this? Will this social concern even be addressed at all?


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