DSWD freezes funds for 15,197 members of 4Ps in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 27 Nov) – Among the 71,973 registered household beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Bukidnon is a vegetable farmer who owns 12 hectares of land and an Elf cargo vehicle in Talakag town, three owners of four-wheeled vehicles, and five Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Libona.

How did they land in the list of beneficiaries of the national government’s flagship program that “provides cash grants to extremely poor households” with the aim to reduce poverty?

The 4Ps, a conditional cash transfer, required that children will attend school and their family regularly visits health centers.

Jerome Humawan, grievance officer at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provincial office, said that they have stopped releasing funds, pending investigation, to 15,197 beneficiaries in the province due to the problem of inclusion error and non-compliance.

He said 9,118 of the households whose benefits are now on hold were due to “inclusion error complaints.”

Humawan said many of those subjected to the inclusion error complaints were those who lied or did not give accurate information during the household assessment conducted for the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) in 2009.

But Humawan said that the survey list of target families were subjected to validation at the local government unit in 2009 before DSWD came up with the final list. Any one in the community can file a complaint for inclusion error, he added.

A total of 6,078 household beneficiaries also did not get their money due to non-compliance of the program’s conditions.

Among the requirements is that parents must ensure that their children attend school at least 85 percent of the time, and receive vaccinations and health care. “Pregnant women must receive pre- and post-natal care and be attended during childbirth by a skilled health professional. Parents must attend responsible parenthood seminars, mother’s classes, and parent effectiveness seminars,” according to the 4Ps website.

The DSWD has so far delisted only 1,057 4Ps members in Bukidnon since 2011 – 650 in the first batch and 407 this year. Additional 375 members, mostly from Valencia City, were due for final stage of the delisting process in December 2012.

Humawan cited the top three reasons why household beneficiaries were delisted in Bukidnon – the members were government employees and teachers, they are self employed, and high income earning barangay officials.

Possessing at least one of the qualities cited in the criteria of DSWD’s Grievance Redress System is a ground for delisting.

The list includes permanent private or public employment with a salary of P10,000 and up; appointed or elected official from barangay and up; entrepreneurial activities (regardless of seasonability) with monthly earning of P7,000 and up; and those who are college graduates and up.

The list also include those who own a computer, two motorcycles, or three- to four-wheeled vehicles and modern electronic gadgets. Furthermore, ownership of another housing unit or land more than a hectare is also a ground for delisting. Households with head who have second degree relatives abroad and are supporting the household through remittances and cash assistance are also qualified for delisting. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)