Poll aspirants told not to use 4Ps in campaign

THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Davao Region have started the implementation of the Bawal ang Epal Dito (Baed) campaign to avert barangay election aspirants from taking advantage of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) for their campaign.

DSWD-Davao Director Priscilla Razon, DILG-Davao officer-in-charge Wilhelm Suyco, and Comelec-Davao Acting Director Tomas Valera launched the campaign during a press conference at the DSWD regional office Friday.

This, after the national offices of DSWD, DILG, and Comelec forged a tripartite memorandum of agreement acknowledging their respective duties to prevent candidates from using the 4Ps to gain leverage in the election period.

Razon told reporters: "We are currently intensifying our advocacy campaign to let the people know that they should not be afraid to inform the authorities on any candidate that would use the 4Ps to collect votes in his or her constituents."

She also said, "Barangay officials, all the more, candidates do not have the right to delist 4Ps beneficiaries just because they won't give their vote assurance. It is only the national and the regional offices of DSWD who has the authority to include or exclude 4Ps beneficiaries."

Razon said they have already received reports that there have been beneficiaries in the region that have been delisted from the 4Ps. It is not clear though whether it was done by an incumbent barangay chief or simply an internal error within the system of DSWD.

Suyco, meanwhile, said: "We are coordinating with the barangay officials to let them know that they are not allowed to use the program in campaigning. So far, we have already told some barangays in the region not to include the 4Ps and the DSWD logos in their campaign materials."

He added that any violator may face administrative cases for violation of the DILG Memorandum Circular 44.

He said: "We will closely monitor the campaign schemes of the candidates and make sure that they are complying with the allowed election propaganda and political advertisements as stated in Comelec Resolution 9615."

The Comelec head also said they will pursue the filing of case against violators based on the Section 261 (Prohibited Act) of the Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code.

On the same note, the release of the cash grants for the beneficiaries will be suspended on October 17 and will resume on November 4. The 4Ps program already has 192,374 beneficiaries in the region.

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