Marikina ‘cash-for-work’ or vote-buying?
IS IT really a cash-for-work program or a vote-buying activity disguising as a legitimate government project?
A video showing social workers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distributing P1,800 in cash each to residents in Barangay San Roque, Marikina City, for a cash-for-work program was obtained by the Inquirer. The distribution, however, is being tagged as a scheme seen to benefit Marikina Rep. Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro’s mayoral candidacy.
Teodoro, however, was quick to deny any irregularity, noting that the activity was for a “continuing” government program.
“The activity is a continuing national government program of the DSWD, hence it has nothing to do with the elections. Only our opponents in politics are giving wrong information on this DSWD program,” Teodoro told the Inquirer in a text message Tuesday.
Teodoro, who is serving his third and last term as representative of the city’s first district, is up against reelectionist Mayor Del de Guzman.
In the video, taken on Saturday at the residence of one Boy Nita on JP Laurel Street in Mountainview Subdivision, Barangay San Roque, at least 100 individuals can be seen gathered inside the compound. A few meters away from the entrance was a rectangular table where two women, supposedly from the DSWD, distributed stapled wads of cash worth P1,800 each—three bills of P100 and three bills of P500. The two women sat on monobloc chairs with “Team Marcy” stickers.
In another video, also on the same venue and posted on the Facebook page of Barangay Industrial Valley Complex chair Fernando Mira, a certain Ryan Caunca alleged that “money is raining down on Marikina.”
“You don’t have to work. You just have to sign on a logbook and you instantly have a DSWD ID and P1,800. Do you see them sweeping the street?” Caunca said in the post.
According to the DSWD website, beneficiaries of the cash-for-work and food-for-work programs will receive cash “based on the prevailing regional wages or food in exchange for doing community projects,” like street cleanups and repair of community facilities.
In a text message, Mayor De Guzman called on the DSWD to look into the matter as it puts into question the credibility of the cash-for-work program.
“I ask the DSWD to stop the use of cash-for-work funds for this purpose. They are circumventing the pure intent of this noble project and I am wondering why DSWD is allowing it,” De Guzman said. “What our opponent is doing is a step backward. Vote-buying perpetuates patronage politics and demeans a person and strips him of his dignity.”
A source privy to the matter but who declined to be named said the residents were given cash without them having to work. The source also pointed out that the timing and venue of the handouts raised questions as it was conducted just days before the elections and on a private property, instead of a government office.
“Why were there senior citizens?” the source said, noting that elderly people normally wouldn’t be tapped for cash-for-work, especially with scorching summer temperatures that can cause heat strokes.
Similar incidents of cash being handed out have also been reported in Barangay Sto. Niño, which is also under the first district.