DILG bars politicos from dole payouts
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has barred all local elective officials and politicians from taking part in national government programs and activities, particularly in payouts for the unconditional cash transfer (UCT).
The warning was contained in a recently issued memorandum circular, saying such programs “could be used as a platform to advance their political interests,” particularly in their campaign for votes in next month’s polls.
Año also reminded local government officials to observe “high standards of personal conduct in their actions,” citing the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which provides that every public official and employee must uphold public interest over and above personal interest.
Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said the issuance of the memorandum circular stemmed from complaints, specifically from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), of local politicians allegedly exerting undue influence to endorse their candidacies.
Malaya said that based on the complaint from the DSWD, there were politicians trying to “hijack” the UCT distribution.
“Just like a political rally, candidates, including incumbent LGU (local government unit) officials, reportedly spoke [in the events] with their campaign posters splattered in the distribution area,” he said.
The DILG spokesperson reminded local politicians that the UCT was apolitical.
“We cannot and will not tolerate any politician [who wants] to speak during the release of assistance. The payout cannot be linked to any candidate or political party,” Malaya said.
He added: “The UCT is a nationally funded program, therefore LGU officials cannot claim credit for it.”
Malaya further warned politicians against threatening to delist beneficiaries should they refuse to support them in the elections.
“Only the DSWD can delist the names of beneficiaries of their programs,” he said.
“We appeal to all candidates not to politicize the payouts; otherwise, the DILG will be compelled to bring charges against you,” he said.
Noel Macalalad, DSWD assistant secretary for policy and plans, said the UCT beneficiaries would receive as much as P3,600 by June as budgeted by the Department of Finance (DOF).
“The UCT and the prescribed P300 per month for 2019 will push through …. Pero budgeted ng DOF, kumbaga alam ng DOF they need such amount (It was budgeted by the DOF, they know they need such amount),” Macalalad said.
Macalalad said families could expect to receive the P3,600 in subsidies by June.
Under the program, 10 million households covered by the UCT include 4.4 million beneficiaries, 3 million senior citizens and 2.6 million households from the DSWD’s database of poor households.
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