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Political patronage through 4Ps

05:02 AM August 12, 2019

That the World Bank has approved a fresh $300-million loan to finance 4Ps until 2022 (Business, 6/29/19) is not something to be happy about. If only such a huge amount of money is put to better use.

It is high time the current administration reviewed not only the policies of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), but also the rationale behind it.

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No offense meant to the true beneficiaries of 4Ps, but in a recent visit to my hometown in Eastern Samar this summer, I saw rice fields teeming with rice stalks that were ready for harvesting.

The problem was, only a handful of farmers were out working in the fields; in places, there were even none. The scene was something shocking to me. Harvest time, during my younger days, was supposed to be a happy gathering of farm workers, neighbors and friends.

When I inquired as to the scarcity of workers in sight, I was told that the culprit was the 4Ps allowance that people now receive on a regular basis.

It is time to purge the 4Ps beneficiaries list. Are they to receive such an allowance for eternity, that they would become lazy in improving their lives and end up solely depending on the government?

How are the funds audited? The 4Ps funds have become a reason for patronage politics in my home province. People feel they owe those in power, as they are included in the list as legitimate beneficiaries. I even heard of ATM cards of 4Ps recipients being pawned to some enterprising individuals, who take advantage of the regular amounts that are put into the card.

Instead of giving cash to individual beneficiaries of 4Ps, could we not allot funds for other income-generating projects in which the people could work and not be encouraged to become lazy by just waiting for the regular amounts they receive? Any form of allowance or subsidy from the government must be earned by deserving families.

By the way, Eastern Samar has idle lands that remain untilled because of the absence of irrigation. Our poor farmers rely purely on rain, and how shocking that when rice fields are ready for harvesting, 4Ps beneficiaries who used to plant and help in the farm are now nowhere in sight.

Are we teaching our people to be lazy? And aren’t 4Ps funds a channel for corruption?

BELEN DOCENA-ASUELO
[email protected]

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TAGS: 4Ps, Belen Docena-Asuelo, Inquirer letters, political patronage
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