If you want to prevent yourselves or your loved ones from becoming victims, then you should read what I encountered today (March 18, 2019).
This morning, coming from the direction of Festival Mall in Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City, I was about to enter the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch at the ground floor of the Insular Life Corporate Center along Commerce Avenue.
As I was preparing myself, a thin, dark-skinned young man wearing dark shorts, dark t-shirt and slippers called my attention from behind. He carried a light bag on his back.
So I looked back carefully and then he said “Sir, patulong po.” (meaning he needs my help) and showed me a noticeable handy sign (like a card) with words written on it emphasizing that he needs money to solve his problem. From that moment on, I figured out he was a beggar trying to manipulate me discreetly (he did not even open his palm to show begging).
I just ignored him and went inside BPI Insular Life branch to do my transaction at one of the ATMs (automatic teller machines). As the ATM I used was processing my transaction, I took a few peaks outside and noticed that the guy was still standing outside on the lookout for other people he could approach.
Right after I completed my ATM transaction, I took it upon myself to photograph him for this very article. I also figured out it was a rare chance of mine to find out if he was trying to scam people given his very discreet approach on asking for money.
So I walked outside with my smartphone and its camera ready. As he noticed me nearing him, he showed me again that sign and asked for money. Then as I pulled out my smartphone to photograph him, he quickly put his sign away and faced the other direction trying to hide his face.
After taking the first photograph (the one right above), I still aimed my smartphone camera at him and I asked him to face me and challenged him to beg while being seen. He refused to do it and kept hiding himself by facing away from me.
Check out the pictures below.
As the discreet beggar walked away, I went back inside BPI Insular Life branch and alerted the security guard about the beggar.
The guard said he remembered seeing that beggar a few times from before begging within the Filinvest City spots. He also remembered that from time to time, adults like the one pictured would beg discreetly for money just outside their bank.
More notably, the security guard said that it is illegal for anyone to commit begging within Filinvest City. He added that the discreet beggar I encountered was very lucky that there was no Filinvest City security guard present otherwise he would have been apprehended for committing a violation.
The guard also warned that such beggars who use signs and words (to convince people to give money) might be members of local crime syndicates.
By the time my short talk with the bank security guard ended, the discreet beggar was several meters away heading towards the direction of South Supermarket.
Out of curiosity, I decided to follow him temporarily to determine if I could spot him trying to find a new spot to beg at others.
I walked some meters towards the discreet beggar and after a minute, I guessed he could have decided to go home. I took one last picture of him walking away before deciding to let him go.
This incident I am writing about was NOT the first time I encountered a beggar along the roads of Filinvest City. What makes this different is that the beggar used a handy sign while saying only a few words to beg.
I have a strong mental defense and I always practice caution (including awareness of my surrounding). It’s natural for me to resist the manipulation attempts of street beggars.
If I were to give out money to help people who really need help, I would not give to beggars roaming around and I certainly discourage you from giving to them especially if the begging constitutes a local violation. Surely you would not want to give your money to a beggar who happens to be a member of a crime gang!
If you want to give out loose cash to help people who really need help, I recommend you give to legitimate organizations like CBN Asia for example complete with legitimate ways to do it backed with record keeping.
Going back to encountering the beggars who roam around and near you, better have a defensive mindset and be ready to protect not only your money but also yourselves. Also be ready to call the local police or the nearest security guard if ever the beggar victimizes you.
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