Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Martin Diño said authorities should arrest street beggars since they could spread COVID-19.

In an online forum, Diño encouraged the police, barangay authorities, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to do something about the increasing number of people begging on the streets amid the pandemic.

“Batas ay batas. Dapat iyan hinuhuli ng mga pulis, dapat dinadala sa DSWD kasi baka hindi mo alam, baka ito na ’yung nagkakalat ng pandemya dahil unang-una, exposed ito,” the official stressed.

“Wala dapat sila sa lansangan, pandemya tayo ngayon. Walang pinipili ang pandemya. Hindi porke mahirap ka, ikaw ay may lisensiya na kumatok at um-ano sa lahat ng mga ano,” he added.

Many of those who are seen begging on the streets include locally-stranded individuals, jeepney drivers who are not yet authorized to operate, and Filipinos who have lost their source of livelihood due to the ongoing pandemic.

Diño previously suggested that people caught not wearing a face mask or wearing it improperly in public should be jailed for more than ten days despite concerns that the measure may result in prison overcrowding and further spread of COVID-19.

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