MANILA — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday clarified it will not file charges against around 1.3 million beneficiaries that might be delisted from the government's cash assistance program.
DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo said they would not be charged criminally just because they will no longer be eligible for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) benefits.
Tulfo earlier said they received complaints in their hotlines regarding "undeserving" 4Ps beneficiaries, prompting him to offer a P1,000 reward to those who would report such incidents.
“Hindi sila (they are not) criminally liable kasi it would be unfair naman,” Tulfo said in a televised briefing.
"Graduate na po sila, meaning to say may mga sinusunod na conditions. You have children going to school, walang trabaho si tatay o si nanay o parehong walang trabaho ang magulang. Hindi naman pwedeng kasuhan sila," he added.
(They have 'graduated' or they no longer met the conditions for being poor. They cannot be charged just for that reason alone.)
Being disqualified from the program, he said, only means that their life got better or they could now sustain themselves.
"Either nakakuha ng trabaho ang parents or mayroon na silang kaunting pinagkakakitaan. Yun po yung qualifications para maialis na sa section ng poor. Doon ka na sa non-poor," said Tulfo.
(The parents may have already found work or they have their own small business already. Those are the qualifications so they could be removed from the poor category.)
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"Binalikan ka namin mayroon ka nang flat screen TV na mga 72-inch, mayroon ka nang double-door na refrigerator, mayroon ka nang aircon. Eh what does it tell us? It tells us na gumiginhawa na yung buhay mo," he noted.
(When we returned to your house, we found out you already have a 72-inch flatscreen TV or a double-door refrigerator or an aircon. What does it tell us? Your life has already improved.)
Tulfo said the DSWD’s National Housing Targeting Office found that the 1.3 million beneficiaries no longer meet the conditions needed for inclusion in the 4Ps program, as they are already considered “non-poor” based on the criteria used by the agency.
Tulfo said the actual delisting of the 1.3 million beneficiaries from the program would not happen overnight, adding that they would need to be properly informed by the agency first, which may take weeks.
“Medyo mahaba-haba pa itong process where we remove them from the list, aabutin pa ho ng ilang linggo kasi kailangan maabisuhan sila merong proseso na susundin, hindi yung tatanggalin ka nalang namin, magugulat ka. We will inform you,” he said.
(The process is still long before we remove them from the list, which may take weeks. They should be informed first and a process would be followed. We will inform you.)
The DSWD Secretary meanwhile clarified that the money that will be freed up from the delisting of these beneficiaries will not be considered savings.
The budget, estimated around P15 billion according to Malacañang, will be used to the next eligible beneficiaries.
“Aalisin natin ang 1.3 (million). Kailangan may ipapalit tayo doon base sa mga nasa waiting list. So it’s not actually correct to say na savings kasi ibibigay din natin ito doon sa next batch na nangangailangan din ng tulong," he said.
(We need to replace them based on the waiting list. It's not actually correct to say the budget for this will be lodged in savings. This will be given to the next eligible batch of beneficaries.)