RIGHT TO TRAVEL: Iloilo City gov’t can’t stop Badjaos from returning

first_imgEven the local government of Jolo maynot be able to restrict the movement of the Badjaos, said Alejano. The Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) of the citygovernment discovered as early as last year that Badjao mendicants would sendback to where they came from the money collected here via money remittancecenters. Theordinance provides that “those caught begging are liable to fines of P500,imprisonment of not more than a year or both fine and imprisonment.” Just recently, 87 mendicant Badjaoswere rounded up by the city government. They were lectured about the cityordinance on mendicancy. Should the Badjaos return to IloiloCity, they would again be rounded up for deportation, said Alejano. On Nov. 10, 2017 then mayor Jose Espinosa IIIordered the PSTMO to round up the roaming Badjaos and ship them back toMindanao. According to the PSTMO chief, they received information that someone orsome groups from where the Badjaos came from facilitated their travel to IloiloCity. PSTMO chief Jeck Conlu said the Badjao beggars here were from Zamboanga andJolo. For the impending deportation of theBadjaos next month, Alejano said the city government already sent communicationto Sulu governor Abdusakur Tan and the Department of Social Welfare andDevelopment there. Meanwhile,giving to beggars is punishable by a fine of P500 or community service. Anyperson, syndicate or group who utilize and exploit minors, disabled and infirmpersons in the mendicancy trade shall suffer a penalty of P2,000 in fine andimprisonment of not less than two months. “There is nothing we can do tocompletely stop them from returning. Even Manila, Cebu and Bacolod haveBadjaos,” he lamented. “Nobody can stop them from boarding aship and go somewhere else if they have the money to pay,” he added. Giving alms to street children andbeggars is not allowed in Iloilo City and such act is punishable under CityRegulation Ordinance 2002-400.center_img Because of the conflict between Muslimseparatists and government troops and the lack of livelihood opportunities,many Badjaos left Mindanao. ILOILO City – The city governmentwould be deporting to Jolo, Sulu all mendicant Badjaos next month via aPhilippine Air Force C-130 airplane. But this is just a temporary solution. Itmay not be able to stop them from returning to the city. “Filipinos man ina sila,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas’executive assistant Hector Alejano, citing freedom of movement guaranteed inthe Constitution. Mayor Jerry Treñas told Panay Newshe asked the National Bureau of Investigation and Iloilo City Police Office toconduct an investigation. The Badjaos, widely known as “sea gypsies”,are an ethnic group scattered along the coastal areas of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu,Basilan and some coastal municipalities of Zamboanga del Sur in the AutonomousRegion in Muslim Mindanao. “Tan-awon ta konmay counterparts ina sila diri sa syudadsang Iloilo,” said Conlu. “They also foundthe Ilonggos generous.” Next month is the first time the citygovernment would be facilitating the Badjaos’ return direct to their homeprovince. Previous deportation efforts were only up to Cagayan de Oro Citywhere there’s a seaport with ships going to Iloilo City. “Didto silanagapadala sang kwarta. Mga dalagku nga amount,” saidConlu. Are there persons or groups behind the proliferation of mendicant Badjaosin this city? Section 6, Article III (Bill ofRights) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution reads: “The liberty of abode and ofchanging the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impairedexcept upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel beimpaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or publichealth, as may be provided by law.” BADJAOS IN THE CITY. These Badjao beggars have been rounded up by Iloilo City government personnel from the districts of Jaro and Mandurriao. They would be deported to Jolo, Sulu next month. The city government, however, admits it would be difficult to bar the Badjaos from returning to the city. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN “Kunmangayo-ngayo sila nagapamilit pa kag nagapamutong, kalaw-ay gid (They force people to give them alms, it’s disgusting),” saidEspinosa who admitted that regulating the entry of Badjao beggars to the citywould be difficult./PNlast_img

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