Syndicate behind child beggars in downtown Manila?

Ramil Bajo, Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - December 3, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A well-organized syndicate – perhaps more than one – may be behind the  renewed proliferation of child beggars in the streets of downtown Manila, according to street vendors in the area.

One vendor, who requested anonymity, told The STAR that a certain “Empoy” has been “taking care” of the children begging along C.M. Recto and Rizal Avenues and in Sta. Cruz. He said the children, most of them younger than 10, are told to ride passenger jeepneys and beg.

Along Tayuman and Alvarez streets, child beggars as young as four, sometimes with toddlers in tow, risk life and limb to cross the street and ride jeepneys, the vendor said.

He said most of the time, the child beggars would wait for the traffic light to turn red at the corner of Tayuman street and Rizal Avenue before boarding a jeepney.

The vendor said Empoy reportedly brings the children to F. Huertas or Tayuman streets and gives them plastic bags with model airplane glue to sniff before sending them out to beg.

Another vendor, who has been at her trade for several years, said the children who start out as beggars go on to snatching and robbing when they grow older. A section of Rizal Avenue, from C.M. Recto to Blumentritt Market, is notorious for snatchings and robberies, she said.

Police officers are focusing on these syndicates after a four-year-old boy was kidnapped from the street in front of his home in Manila, allegedly by “solvent boys,” last week.

The boy was found in Antipolo City with the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and local authorities.

Manila’s social welfare office, headed by Jay Fuentes, has been helping rehabilitate the child beggars brought to them. Fuentes said they are having difficulty keeping up with so many cases.

A high-ranking official of the Manila Police District said they will arrest the child beggars’ handlers once they gather enough evidence.

ALONG TAYUMAN AND ALVAREZ ANTIPOLO CITY BEGGARS BLUMENTRITT MARKET DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT EMPOY JAY FUENTES MANILA POLICE DISTRICT RECTO AND RIZAL AVENUES RIZAL AVENUE TAYUMAN
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