‘Don’t use 4Ps in campaign’-A A +A
Saturday, February 23, 2013
CEBU has 118,183 household covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already disbursed about P804.2 million to the beneficiaries, as of Jan. 30.
This was divulged yesterday by DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, who was in Carcar City during the launching of an anti-Epal campaign to discourage politicians from using the 4Ps to promote their candidacies in the May 13 elections.
Soliman said a politician cannot claim that he can remove the name of a beneficiary if the beneficiary won’t vote for him. Only the DSWD is authorized to that, she said.
She also said a politician cannot claim that he can enlist a family in the program since a beneficiary needs to be verified, evaluated and approved by the DSWD.
LGUs’ limited role
Soliman said the 4Ps is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor households, particularly of children up to 14 years old. The program provides cash grants to beneficiaries as long as they comply with a set of health and education conditions.
“This is a concerted effort of the National Government and its agencies, such as DSWD, DepEd (Department of Education), DOH (Department of Health) and DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government),” Soliman said.
She said that while local government units are partners of DSWD in the program, their role is limited to providing enough classrooms for kindergarten, elementary and high school students.
“Candidates who campaign and tell beneficiaries to vote for them so they will be enrolled in the program are liars. Those who will say that they can remove the names of the beneficiaries from the list are liars. You must vote in accordance with your conscience,”
The DSWD stated in its Program Implementation Status Report that in Cebu City and Cebu Province, the identified poor household totaled 151,425.
And since the 4Ps now covers 118,183 households, their accomplishment is 78 percent, Soliman said.
DILG Undersecretary Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez said they issued a directive to local candidates not to use the program to get votes because that is abuse of authority.
“If abusive local officials use the program to promote their candidacies, report it to DSWD,” he said.
He said the 4Ps program is a primary strategy to liberate the poor from the cycle of poverty.
In Carcar City, Soliman led the unveiling of the Bawal Epal Dito Campaign (Baed) at the Land Bank of the Philippines ATM machine and the Baed tarpaulin, the distribution of Baed flyers and button pins, and actual payouts to the 4Ps beneficiaries.
DSWD 7 Director Mercedita Jabagat said the program is successful and that several families have been empowered as their living condition has improved.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 23, 2013.