MANILA — Beneficiaries of the government's conditional cash transfer (CCT) program should not pawn their cash cards, warned Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin Tulfo on Wednesday.
At the same time, loan sharks could also face charges if they accept pawning cards in exchange for cash.
In an interview with ANC's Headstart, he said he has received reports that some beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) are pawning cards in exchange for cash.
"I would like to take this opportunity to warn the loansharks 'yung mga tumatanggap, bawal po 'yan, na tumanggap na isasanla sa inyo na ika nga cash card kasi labag sa batas 'yan, you could go to jail, you could end up in jail," he said.
This also includes gambling using the card.
"Nagsusumbong din kasi relatives nila, mga relatives na nakasama sa 4Ps, pinsan niya, sila nagsusumbong na sinasabi, sinasangla, 'yun ang hinahabol namin, 'yun ang iniimbestigahan. Marami na rin kaming natanggal na sinugal, pinang-inom lang," he added.
The DSWD is steadily cleansing the list of beneficiaries.
A large organization of beneficiaries, the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilyang Pantawid, has issued a statement regarding the DSWD's plan to cleanse the list of 4Ps recepients.
They said they agree with Secretary Tulfo's plan to remove the names of undeserving members, but appealed to do the cleansing based on real status and financial capacity of the family.
National president Jeana Catacio said she was surprised of the move.
"Siyempre medyo nagulat ako at ang aming samahan na may biglaang ganitong inilabas na statement," she said.
It was also hard to believe that non-eligible beneficiaries made it to the list, Catacio said
"Medyo mahirap paniwalaan kasi ang daming pagdadaanan proseso ng beneficiary para maging kwalipikado, dadaan pa sa interview, pangalawa sa evaluation, pangatlo binababaan talaga ng DSWD staff," she said.
[It is hard to believe because the process is stringent. There are interviews, evaluation, and investigation by the DWSD staff.
They said the DSWD must also consider the effects of the pandemic and inflation that further plunged several families into poverty.
In a statement, the group said a comprehensive assessment and review should be done to ensure no deserving family should be struck off the list.
They also appealed to the government to have intervention programs for 4Ps graduates to ensure a better life for them.
Apart from this, they appealed that the government to increase the number of beneficiaries, especially now that more families are poorer because of the pandemic.
"Nitong pandemic meron tayong identified na 15 million na nasa mahirap ang kalagayan kaya sabi namin, dapat i-expand ang programa dahil kahit 'yung 10 million na talagang pinakamahirap sa ating bansa ay dapat matulungan sa pamamagitan ng programa kasi kami saksi kami sino pa ang dapat tulungan sa community," she said.
[Because of the pandemic, we identified 15 more million poor Filipinos. The 4Ps program should be in fact expanded because we've seen in various communities that many others are in need.]
And finally, they said the agency should ensure a system for grievances for families who have complaints and issues.
More than 4.4 million families are now receiving cash aid from the conditional cash transfer program.
Around 900,000 to 1 million will be removed from the program.
- With reports from Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News