CEBU

DSWD halts releases

UNTIL it gets exemption from the election ban, all releases of assistance, including the distribution of family food packs for work program beneficiaries, are stopped.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 hopes to get an exemption from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) soon from the ban but, until then, it cannot release assistance to local government units (LGUs) for the food-for-work (FFW) and other programs.

The DSWD gives family food packs to those who work on government projects in their community, in particular on disaster preparedness and risk reduction activities such as declogging of canals and removing debris from roads. The food packs will cover at least the daily food requirement of volunteers or beneficiaries.

The ban on disbursements from March 29 to May 12 aims to prevent the misuse of government funds to sway voters in the May 13 midterm elections. The ban covers the release, disbursement, or expenditure of public funds.

Rebecca P. Geamala, DSWD 7 director, said in a press release her office is ready to help but, with the election ban and in the absence of an exemption from the Comelec, the releases of assistance and other activities are temporarily stopped.

Prior to the ban, as of March 28, DSWD 7 was able to distribute family food packs in exchange for work carried out by volunteers or beneficiaries in Batuan, Sierra Bullones, Candijay, Ubay, Buenavista and Trinidad, all in Bohol; Liloan, Aloguinsan, Tabuelan, Daanbantayan, City of Naga, Pinamungahan, Asturias, Balamban, Malabuyoc, San Fernando, Sta. Fe, and Talisay City in Cebu; and Guihulngan, Tanjay City and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental.

Geamala also said election candidates will be barred from DSWD activities. “As we support the LGUs in this endeavor, we do not allow any political candidates to be present in our activities,” she said in the press release.

“However prudent we are in the performance of our mandate, still there are circumstances that catch us off-guard. Please be informed that we do not distribute our goods with politicians,” she added. (PR)


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