GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 April) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is working on the rollout of more community-based socioeconomic projects in Region 12 in a bid to strengthen the implementation of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.
Social Welfare Undersecretary Ma. Lourdez Turalde-Jarabe said in a statement that they are looking into some initiatives that would address the basic and needs of communities and the program’s beneficiaries.
She cited potable water systems, school buildings, school materials and other basic concerns.
Turalde-Jarabe and members of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) and Technical Working Group of the CCT, which also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, are on a four-day swing in Region 12 to inspect the program’s implementation.
The group visited in the last two days several villages in Malapatan town in Sarangani and held interactions with local program implementers and beneficiaries.
Malapatan has around 5,000 active household-beneficiaries.
In a focus group discussion in Barangay Patag in Malapatan, the beneficiaries raised the lack of basic services and infrastructure in their communities.
Turalde-Jarabe assured that the agency will provide them with the necessary assistance to ensure that they would able to stand on their own “just like what President (Rodrigo) Duterte wanted to see.”
“We are working how we can address some of your concerns like potable water, school buildings and school materials. But for now, your grants will continue as well the money intended to buy for the rice. See to it you have your own backyard gardens, children must be in school and attend the family development sessions,” she said.
Members of the NAC, which is headed by Turalde-Jarabe, also uncovered some issues and concerns during the house-to-house visits with household-beneficiaries.
“I understand why there are those pawning their cash cards because everybody get their grants every two months. What I cannot understand there are clients using the money for gambling, for their vice, as well for illegal drugs,” she said.
The four-day visit, which ends Friday, was mainly aimed to determine the status of the program’s implementation on the ground as well as various issues and concerns.
The group assessed the transition of the exiting or “graduating” beneficiaries and looked into concerns of household-beneficiaries with children enrolled in senior high school.
Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said Turalde-Jarabe and other NAC members spent time with the beneficiaries to directly get their concerns on the program’s implementation.
She noted that while a number of issues were raised during the interactions, there were also some positive feedbacks.
“I talked to some of the residents in the community and I am happy because of the dramatic changes in their lives. Some were able to buy their own appliances and even put up small business,” she said.
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.
It provides beneficiaries cash grants of P500 a month for health and nutrition expenses and P300 a month per child for educational expenses, as well as P600 in monthly rice subsidy.
The program presently serve around 250,000 “poorest of the poor” households in Region 12, which comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato. (MindaNews)