DSWD investigates families who allegedly misused Pantawid ATM cards

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

ELEVEN beneficiaries of the National Government’s conditional cash transfer program in Cebu City are under investigation by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7.

Of the 11 households, nine allegedly pawned their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards, while the cards of two other households were used as a guarantee or collateral for a loan, said Janice Beltran, DSWD regional grievance officer for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

The families are from Barangays Mambaling and Tejero.


DSWD 7 received the report last Monday but they have yet to validate the complaints through the program’s coordinator in the Cebu City Government.

Aileen Lariba, 4Ps information officer, said they will investigate the complaints so they would know why the families pawned or used their cards as guarantee for a loan. DSWD hopes to finish the probe in 30 days.

“We will investigate (because) there could have been an emergency (in the family). We do not know why they are doing it. It is through the 4Ps program that we teach them how to manage their finances,” she said.

If the allegations are proven true, the families will be given a verbal warning and will get back their card within one month.

Under the program, families considered to be the poorest of the poor get a P300 monthly financial assistance per child, with a maximum of three children. The amount is intended for the child’s educational needs.

They will also receive P500 a month for health care services for children up to five years old and for pregnant women, family development services and de-worming.

On average, a family with three children receives at least P1,400 a month.

“We have an all or nothing policy. For example, if the mother misses attending meetings on family development services but visits a clinic and has her child de-wormed, the family will not be able to receive the P500 assistance,” said Beltran.

Beltran assured, though, that the beneficiaries who were reported to have violated the conditions of the program will be given due process.

For the first offense, they will be given a verbal warning by the municipal link, who
acts as the program coordinator, and will be required to sign a written agreement stating that they will not commit the same offense.

Households cited for a second offense will be served a written warning and will not receive the cash aid for three months.

On the third offense, the families would be disqualified as beneficiaries of the program.

“The same card (for 4Ps) can be used for other programs. If they are de-listed, they won’t be prioritized,” said Lariba.

The other programs include rice subsidy, social pension and livelihood program.

As of July 2011, the DSWD 7 has already enlisted 136,608 households as beneficiaries in Central Visayas. Of the number, 28,004 households are from Bohol, 52,934 are from Cebu, 53, 766 are from Negros Oriental and 1,899 households are from Siquijor.

The total amount disbursed in Central Visayas for the first half of the year has reached P1,007,424,649.

Beltran said that a system in receiving and addressing problems with regards to the 4Ps program is already in place.

The complaints received range from inclusion errors, wherein a beneficiary is allegedly not eligible, to exclusion errors, or when eligible families were not listed.

There are also those who complained that they were not in the payroll list or did not receive their cash grants, as well as complaints on low entitlement.

Complaints can be sent to 0918-9122813 by typing 4ps (space) name (space) place (space) complaint, or through e-mail to 4Psreklamo@gmail.com.

In a separate interview, DSWD 7 information officer Jaybee Binghay clarified that the 4Ps program is not a dole-out to poor families.

“There is a condition that they need to comply with before they are given cash grants.

We need to cut the cycle of not trusting the poor… This is the first time (we are offering this), that is why we are training them to handle their finances,” she added. BAP

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 05, 2011.

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