Peasant women group hits DSWD over unused P780M cash aid funds
MANILA, Philippines — A peasant women group criticized the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Monday over its P780 million unutilized and unused Social Amelioration Program (SAP) funds.
“We are enraged as many peasant families have faced hunger and poverty during the pandemic and now we are hearing about this huge amount of P780 million being unutilized and unused. It is morally wrong, a total failure and neglect to the demand of the poor farmers and peasant women in the countryside,” Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said in a statement.
According to the findings of the Commission on Audit, 139,300 beneficiaries from Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Easten Visayas, and Davao could have benefited from the unused funds.
Amihan lambasted the DSWD, saying the “regions are majorly rural areas where peasant communities are in dire need of assistance.”
Soriano also lamented the “discriminatory guidelines and numerous requirements” of the DSWD as eligible beneficiaries have not received the aid that led to disqualification.
Soriano added that the DSWD should be held accountable for its neglect of the marginalized sector.
“We should hold the DSWD accountable for this irregularity and neglect for poor peasant families and marginalized sectors. Instead of providing assistance, the Duterte regime is ardent to impose militarist lockdowns, the militarization of communities, and even ordered the state security forces to take charge of the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program
“The Duterte government has militarized the supposedly public health COVID-19 crisis, majorly victimizing farming communities. It is a double whammy effect for poor peasant families,” Soriano said.
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