DSWD-11 delists 7,000 4Ps beneficiaries, admits inclusion errors

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 12 Sept) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 11 delisted around 7,000 beneficiaries of its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), admitting that there were cases of inclusion error, a government social worker said Tuesday.

Araceli M. Layog, 4Ps regional program coordinator, poverty reduction unit, said the lapses occurred during the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) project, which was a survey to identify “who and where the poor are.”

4Ps is a conditional cash transfer to Filipino families below poverty thresholds to improve their health, nutrition and education, especially children from 0 to 14 years old.

Each household is granted P500 per month for health and nutrition expenses, while each child from 0-14 years old is granted P300 per month for education expenses for the 10-month school year, up to a maximum of three children in each household.

Thus, a family could have up to P1,400 per month.

Layog said some enumerators of 4Ps beneficiaries did shortcuts with the survey forms just to comply with their quota of respondents despite being trained to conduct interviews inside the house of each respondent.

Noting that reports from communities mostly spawned the delisting, she cited voluntary declaration of unqualified beneficiaries, particularly by 10 teachers in Sarangani, Davao del Sur, and a local chief executive.

Layog said delisting a beneficiary starts with a report, which the department will validate and search for evidences, which will then be attached to a form and submitted to the provincial, municipal or national advisory council.

She said all levels of advisory councils had discussed not to impose penalties to the delisted 4Ps beneficiaries, but instead talk to them to be aware of their mischief.

“Bisan unsaon pag paningil, bisan daghan pa siyag manok, dili na siya makabayad (However we urge a person to reimburse, even if he or she has many chickens, that person could not pay for),” Layog told the participants of a two-day orientation for information officers and media on the convergence framework on poverty reduction that began on Tuesday at The Marco Polo Davao.

Showing a visual presentation, Layog said a total of 1,965 cases of redress grievances on 4Ps were filed before DSWD-11, and 1,869 of them were already resolved, while 96 are still on-going.

She noted that Compostela Valley had the highest number of grievances with 1,214 cases, and 1,165 of which were resolved, while 49 cases are still pending.

Some complaints include unreadable pin codes on cash cards, and beneficiaries who have not received their cash cards, not in the payroll list and lower entitlement due to non-compliance and non-updating of school and health facilities of their children.

For ongoing cases, the reports and endorsements were already forwarded to Pantawid Pamilya National Program Management office and Land Bank of the Philippines Batasan for appropriate action, Layog added.

DSWD-11 had released a total of P758,413,200 worth of conditional cash grants from January to July 2012.

Layog said a total of 170,098 households were 4Ps beneficiaries in the region, with 96.69 percent compliance to the family development session (FDS).

She also cited 13 civil society organizations that signed a memorandum of agreement with the department to conduct FDS.

Out of the total 101,026 children of 0-5 years old monitored health beneficiaries, 95.83 percent complied with regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines.

And, out of 35,357 children at 6-14 years old monitored health beneficiaries, 98.27 percent complied with de-worming twice a year.

From March to April 2012, 95.4 percent of 49,441 children at 3-5 years old and 96.63 percent of 238,386 children at 6-14 years old complied with conditions for education beneficiaries.

Priscilla N. Razon, DSWD-11 assistant regional director, said the department has been faced with a lot of negative feedbacks, especially with the 4Ps.

But she said only the communities and beneficiaries can speak for the effectiveness of government social welfare programs with the changes they felt.

Sharing their good experiences with 4Ps, a mother and her daughter who belong to the Badjao tribe now residing at Barangay Bucana here, spoke at the orientation about how they have been slowly alleviated from their poor state.

Badjaos, who are historically nomadic and settled in the coastal areas here, are now called “Good-Jao” in their villages since 4Ps has brought significant changes in their lives, a barangay social worker said. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)