The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Western Visayas warned all beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) not to pawn their cash cards as guarantee for their loans, collaterals and other lending transactions.
The Grievance Redness System (GRS) of the 4Ps in the region has been receiving reports on cash card pawning and making use of Pantawid documents as loan collateral since last year.
Only last week, 67 Pantawid grantees who came from the villages of Barangay Uno, Banago, Bata and Mandalagan, all in Bacolod City were caught pawning their cash cards to a female lender, who later surrendered those pawned cash cards to Bacolod City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) after several mediations made by Punong Barangay of Brgy. Banago.
DSWD-6’s Pantawid Pamilya Project Coordinator Jonathan Anteza emphasized that the misbehavior being shown by those beneficiaries is a clear violation of one of the conditions set by the program under the Pantawid Pamilya National Advisory Council (NAC).
NAC is an inter-agency and highest policy- making body that provides policy directions and guidance on matters pertinent to Pantawid Pamilya implementation.
Under NAC Resolution No. 20 series of 2014 stated that beneficiaries who were complaint or caught pawning their cash cards will be facing the following; first offense, warning by the Municipal Link (ML); second offense, suspension of grants for three months or temporarily change of grantee to another responsible adult member or in the absence of an eligible household member; and third offense, termination from the program issued by the NAC based on the recommendation of the Regional Advisory Committee.
“Any appeal is no longer be entertained after the approval of NAC,” Anteza said.
He also said that apart from misbehavior, other cases of misdemeanor grievances such as misuse of grants, collection of fees, false representation of beneficiaries in the program, drug abuse, alcoholism and gambling has its own respective sanction depending on the gravity of the case.
In the case of Bacolod City, Anteza said caught grantees will be placed under counseling and monitoring.
“This is an isolated case and very minimal. If you will base it on our total number of beneficiaries here in the region it’s just less than one percent however, we are not tolerating them. This incident may serve as lesson to those other beneficiaries and we are emphasizing that we are very serious and committed to strictly implementation of the program”, he said.
Anteza added that Pantawid Pamilya supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals to help eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and promote gender equality and empower women.
As of January this year, there are 325, 775 active beneficiaries in the region.
Nora Abella, 45, of South San Jose, Molo district, Iloilo City admitted that there was a time that she is thinking of pawning her cash card after her three children got sick.
Abella, who is widow for nine years, however, said she valued her kids just like how she valued the privilege given to her by the government.
“On that moment, I was thinking that taking risk violating the condition is just like letting go the opportunity. All I could do is to pray to God that somebody might help me or offer money for my kids’ medication,” she said.
God is good when her prayers were answered. Abella said her two brothers-in law extended money to her for medicines and food of their nieces and nephew.
Abella’s good behavior garnered trust to her fellow beneficiaries which put her to be elected as parent leader. She has been into the program for almost four years. Selling street food has been her livelihood since then her husband died.
According to her, she has confident that her three kids will finish their high school after they were included on the program. Every after two months, she has been receiving P 2, 800 and spent it for their food and education of her kids.
Abella said she might not avail the program which they are now enjoying when she tempted to violate the condition before.