GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 January) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen region has delisted some 11,367 households from the beneficiary database of the national government’s conditional cash transfer program due to inclusion errors, fraud and other eligibility problems.
Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said the move is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to cleanse the anti-poverty program, which is also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, of unqualified beneficiaries to ensure that it would only benefit the “poorest of the poor” households in the area.
“This is a continuing process and we’re currently reviewing and verifying various complaints regarding questions on the status or qualification of some of our beneficiaries,” she said.
Taha, who acts as regional program manager of 4Ps, said the review and verification of the beneficiary list is a component of the grievance redress system or GRS that was adopted by the agency to address concerns and complaints regarding its overall implementation.
The DSWD central office ordered last year a nationwide review of the 4Ps’ beneficiary list due to the confirmed inclusion of unqualified beneficiaries into the program.
In Region 12, program implementers noted that a number of unqualified beneficiaries such as teachers, barangay officials and other government workers, among others, had been “erroneously included” in the program.
Most of the inclusion errors reportedly happened during the encoding of the results of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction or NHTS-PR survey, which was used in the selection of the beneficiaries.
Taha said the delisted beneficiaries were all from the 32 municipalities and two cities in Region 12 that were covered by the program last year.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
DWSD-12 also serves beneficiaries in Marawi City, which is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, but no household-beneficiary from the area has been so far delisted.
Based on their 2011 annual report, Taha noted that Sultan Kudarat province posted the most number of delisted beneficiaries with 3,734 households followed by South Cotabato with 3,594, Sarangani with 2,543, North Cotabato with 975, General Santos City with 310 and Cotabato City with 211.
Aside from the inclusion errors, she said some of the beneficiaries were taken off the list due to duplication or double entry, transfer to area that is not covered by the program, fraud, increase in household income and failure to submit to the GRS mandate.
The official said 1,433 household-beneficiaries in the region were also delisted last year for completing the program’s three-year cycle while 10,393 others were also purged due to their failure to fully comply with the 4Ps registration process.
“These (10,393) were part of the program’s target coverage and have undergone the initial processes but eventually failed to complete their registration,” she said.
Meantime, Taha said they resolved 5,379 complaints related to the program’s implementation in the region last year out of the 9,064 cases that they received.
She said 3,685 cases were still undergoing the resolution process through the GRS.
“Most of the complaints were on payment issues and we addressed them with the conduct of massive updating and retroactive payments. The complaints concerning payments were significantly reduced during the last quarter of 2011,” Taha said.
She added that they also received cases of alleged extortion by their municipal links on the beneficiaries and misuse of the cash grants.
4Ps is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to “poorest of the poor” households to improve their health, nutrition and education, particularly of children aged 0-14 years.
The program provides beneficiaries cash grants of P500 a month for health and nutrition expenses and P300 a month per child for educational expenses. A household with three qualified children could get P1,400 monthly. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)