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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 December 2007, 10:45 GMT
Street carollers banned in Manila
Manila police with Santa Claus hats - 5/12/2007
Christmas is taken seriously in the mostly-Christian Philippines
Christmas carol singers in the Philippines' capital Manila have been banned from the city's busy streets and will be rounded up, officials say.

The ban is for safety reasons, said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) head Bayani Fernando.

Many poor children sing carols at major intersections, knocking on car windows to ask drivers for spare change.

The ban is intended to keep the children out of the path of speeding traffic, said Mr Fernando.

He said groups of carol singers would still be allowed to go house-to-house in the suburbs where they would not be in the way of traffic on busy roads.

"What we are against are those who dart across thoroughfares knocking on vehicle windows to beg for alms since this is a sure-fire way to get maimed or killed," local media quoted Mr Fernando as saying.

Another MMDA official said traffic enforcers would be on major streets, ready to collar singing children and transfer them to the social welfare department.

Just over 90% of the Philippines' population is Christian, mostly Roman Catholic.

'Santa cops' on patrol in Manila
04 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
29 Nov 07 |  Country profiles

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