No 'tokhang' for 4Ps beneficiaries: DSWD

Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2017 05:27 PM

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo. Voltaire Domingo, NPPA Images

The Department of Social Welfare and Development denied Friday reports that they are subjecting beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to an action similar to that of "Oplan Tokhang" of the Philippine National Police.

Some news reports said the DSWD is conducting a similar approach in ensuring that 4Ps beneficiaries do not pawn their cash cards to unscrupulous loan sharks.

"Hindi kami sumasali sa Tokhang. Ang DSWD ho ay nakikipag-kumustahan sa aming beneficiaries," Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said.

(We are not joining Tokhang. The DSWD is checking on its beneficiaries.)

The department reported that as of February 28, the program is of service to 4,385,344 households nationwide. 

Of this figure, 4,152,359 beneficiaries are under regular conditional cash transfer while 232,985 are under the modified conditional cash transfer program. 

The program provides P500 per month to each household beneficiary as health grant, while every child beneficiary per family (maximum of 3 children) receives P300 for elementary, kindergarten and day care and P500 for high school per month for 10 months as educational grant. 

Starting January this year, family beneficiaries will also receive P600 as rice subsidy.

To avail of the cash grants, beneficiaries should comply with conditions. 

Pregnant women should avail of pre and post-natal care and be attended during childbirth by a trained professional. Parents are required to attend Family Development Session. Children aged zero to five years old must receive regular preventive health checkups and vaccines while those aged six to 14 year old must receive deworming pills twice a year.

Children between 3 to 18 year old must enroll in school and maintain a class attendance rate of at least 95 percent a month. 4Ps is now on its 9th year of implementation.

HOW DSWD CHECKS ON BENEFICIARIES

Even though pawning cash cards is discouraged as it is also a condition for maintaining enrollment in the program, Pantawid Pamilya director Leonardo Reynoso explained that they don't do house-to-house checks similar to Tokhang.

"Hindi yung pagkatok sa bahay-bahay ang ginagawa. Matrabaho yun. Kasi meron tayong family development session monthly at isa yun sa mga conditions para makatanggap ng cash grants," Reynoso said.

(We don't do house-to-house visits. That's a lot of work. We have a family development session monthly and that is one of the conditions to receive cash grants.)

Rerynoso said they received 3,341 reports of beneficiaries who pawned their cards, but they did not reach the point of de-listing the beneficiaries under the program since they were able to attend immediately to the family and provide appropriate counselling.

"Kung meron pong misbehavior ang ating benepisyaryo, hindi lamang po ang pagsasangla ng cash card, pati na rin po pagsusugal, pag-inom ng alak, yung paglalasing, kung alak lang naman at kaunti okay lang naman yun," he said.

(If there is misbehavior among beneficiaries, it is not only the pawning of cash cards. It also includes gambling and getting drunk on alcohol. If it's just consuming small amounts of alcohol that is fine.)

The DSWD said some families were already delisted in the program, but for good reason. 

Taguiwalo said some beneficiaries whose children have finished school or whose spouses have found work opted to vacate their slot to give others a chance.

"May iba voluntary, sabi eh, ok na kami eh nakagraduate na yung anak ko, may trabaho na yung mister ko. Ibigay mo na sa iba yung aking slot. We're happy with those kind of beneficiaries," she said.

(There are some who voluntarily said they are already doing well. "My child has finished school, my husband found work and therefore, give my slot to others.")