AT LEAST 35 beneficiaries of the government aid program Pantawid Pamilya in Central Visayas have been caught this year pawning their cash cards as collateral for loans they have taken out from lenders.

This was revealed by Shalaine Lucero, director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7.

Lucero has warned recipients of cash transfer subsidies not to use their cash cards or automated teller machine (ATM) cards as loan collateral. Beneficiaries who engaged in the Sangla ATM scheme could result in their exclusion from cash assistance programs.

Lucero said in an interview Saturday, June 3, 2023, that their first rule that the beneficiaries must abide by is to keep their cash cards. There are currently approximately 310,000 4Ps beneficiaries in Central Visayas.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has issued a warning to cardholders, telling them about potential financial hardships that pawning ATM loan schemes could cause. It said in a statement released on May 20, that once ATM cards are given up as collateral, it will be difficult for borrowers to track the movement of their hard-earned money in bank accounts connected to the ATM cards.

“Creditors may also withdraw amounts higher than the cardholders’ debt,” a portion of the advisory read.

The BSP, however, said there is still no law that forbids the pawning of ATM cards in exchange for loans.


Two of the active cash transfer programs in Central Visayas are the social pension for senior citizens and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which is the government’s principal poverty-reduction program, which invests in the health, nutrition and education of low-income households.

Under 4Ps, a household beneficiary with three children can receive around P1,400 monthly or a total of P15,000 every year for a maximum of seven years.

Lucero said 4Ps beneficiaries who participate in the Sangla ATM scheme risk lose their eligibility for future DSWD 7 aid.

However, she added that disqualification would not be applied immediately after the first offense is reported.

The offender, along with the city and municipal representatives of DSWD, will sign an agreement stipulating that the beneficiary will not repeat the offense, she added.

If the beneficiary commits the same act a second time, their grant will be suspended, and they will undergo counseling.

But if a third offense is committed, the beneficiary will be disqualified and barred from receiving cash assistance in any DSWD 7 programs.


Lucero said that they closely monitor the beneficiaries to ensure their cash cards are with them.

She said they ensure beneficiaries have their cash cards during Family Development Sessions (FDS).

“We also have a way of checking on them, especially when they attend FDS or during home visits. City and municipal links are tasked to look for their cards to monitor them regularly,” said Lucero.

The FDS is a monthly parent group activity attended by the primary grantee of the family, mostly mothers, with the goal of enhancing their capacity as parents and motivating them to be more engaged members of society. It is facilitated by city and municipal representatives.