DSWD chief slams bets who plan to tweak cash aid to poor
MANILA — With the May polls only a few weeks away, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman slammed election candidates who have been taking advantage of the poor by providing vague plans to modify the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
After speaking before more than 80 delegates in an international conference in Makati City on Monday, about the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program and its mechanism to address child labor, Soliman told reporters that the people should not vote for candidates who would only exploit the poor in order to gain votes in the upcoming May 9 elections.
As the conference talked about the CCTs of Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, the country’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), among others, Soliman said that the continuity of the 4Ps would depend on the next administration.
However, the head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expressed concern over the statements coming from presidential candidates who said they would continue the program but could not provide clear mechanisms to sustain the CCT or 4Ps.
“There’s one presidential candidate whose promise is to expand the conditional cash grant to senior citizens. But we already have a social pension program since 2012 in which it has provided money to more than a million elderlies.”
“Another [presidential bet] wants to remove the conditions [of the grant]. But that’s one of the goals of the 4Ps—to produce effective ways in nurturing the children,” she said. “My only question is, do these candidates really know the mechanism of the 4Ps?” Soliman wondered. She added that the 4Ps beneficiaries knew how helpful the program has been to them and who among the presidential bets criticized— and were at times, against—the grant before.
“It’s useless for them (candidates) to promise provisions that are already existing in the program. That’s why I trust them (the beneficiaries) to not vote for these politicians,” she said.
Soliman also urged the politicians to stop exploiting the poor people in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, after the dispersal last April 1.
“I’m calling those politicians who want to gain added votes to please stop exploiting the poor. You know that they are already full of hardships and yet, you still choose to fool them,” a teary-eyed Soliman
said. “If you really want to help them, just give them what they need and refrain from spreading false promises.”
Soliman then addressed the El Niño victims, urging them not to put their hopes in politicians who would just use them. She assured these people that the government would always be ready to help them.
The DSWD said it has released P300 million to P400 million to all regions affected by the El Niño phenomenon. (With a report from John Cyril Yee, trainee) SFM