13,000 families purged from 4Ps
DAVAO CITY—More than 13,000 families in southern Mindanao have been removed from the list of beneficiaries of the government’s cash subsidy program for the poor, known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), in an ongoing review by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), according to a department official.
Priscilla Razon, DSWD regional chief, said 228,793 families had been listed as 4Ps beneficiaries in the region, but 13,195 of them were found to be not qualified to receive monthly cash stipends to keep their children in school and women getting proper health care. They were removed as 4Ps beneficiaries.
According to Razon, those stricken off the list of 4Ps beneficiaries were found to either have steady incomes, or have been enrolled in the program erroneously, or are childless.
The purge of the list, said Razon, was made after a region-wide review of the 4Ps program by the DSWD.
Some of those stricken off the list, she said, had volunteered to drop out of the program for different reasons. She refused to elaborate.
The number of beneficiaries in the four Davao provinces (Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental and Davao Oriental) and Compostela Valley, however, could increase following a nationwide household census by the DSWD, said Razon.
“This will provide opportunity to those who were not included to be on the list because they were not present during the conduct of previous (census),” she said.
The nationwide census by the DSWD, called National Household Targeting Enumeration, is aimed at building a database of poor families which can be used as basis to identify who should benefit from 4Ps, according to Razon.
The review of the list of beneficiaries in southern Mindanao would continue until a revalidated list is ready by middle of October, she said.
In northern Mindanao, the DSWD is on the second round of its review of beneficiaries’ lists.
Mitchie Santiago, a spokesperson for the DSWD in the region, said at least 781,000 households that are on the list of beneficiaries had been reassessed.
Santiago said validation committees have been formed for each town and city in northern Mindanao. These committees, Santiago said, would also act on complaints related to 4Ps.
“The validation phase is considered one of the most important and essential activities [of the review],” said Araceli Solamillo, DSWD director for northern Mindanao.
The DSWD continues to face criticisms over its implementation of the cash subsidy program and its distribution of aid for victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in the Visayas.
In Tacloban City, a group of Yolanda survivors continued to complain against supposed irregularities in the distribution of funds for Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), a government program to help survivors of the monster storm build or repair houses.
A leader of the group People Surge said thousands of families, who are qualified as recipients of ESA funds, did not receive their share while many others who received theirs had been shortchanged.
Marissa Cabaljao, a spokesperson of the group, said People Surge is demanding an investigation.
Under ESA, families who lost their homes would receive P30,000 each to help them build new houses. Families who need to repair damaged houses would receive P10,000 each.
The eastern Visayas office of the DSWD has so far released P8.2 billion for distribution to 428,767 families in the region.
In Tolosa town, Leyte, some families were issued vouchers stating receipt of P30,000 but actually receiving a smaller amount.
One of the complainants is Benigno Pelola, 62, of the village of Poblacion in Tolosa. He said he got a voucher for P30,000 but received only P28,000 in cash.
“Someone told me that the voucher is actually worth P28,000 and not P30,000. If I insist, I could not encash it,” he said.
Pelola could not identify who talked to him about the voucher but Carlos Lerios, village chair of the village of San Roque also in Tolosa, said there were other cases similar to Pelola’s in his village.
Lerios said the people of his village feel they have no choice but accept an amount smaller than that stated in the vouchers “because they told us that we cannot encash the voucher” if they complained.
The vouchers were issued by the municipal government.
Vina Aquino, regional information officer of the DSWD, said her office has received several complaints on the distribution of the ESA funds.
“But our role here is just to download the funds to the local government units,” she said.
Complaints that had been verified and deemed serious, she added, are being acted upon by the regional DSWD office.
One of these cases, she said, was that of a village chair in the town of Batbangon, also in Leyte, who had been demanding P5,000 from each recipient of ESA funds.
Charges are being prepared against this village chief, said Aquino. With a report from Joey Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.