Trust, don’t judge poor for the ‘sins’ of a few
Usually, government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development write letters to the editor to clarify or to respond to something negative that has been written about their programs and projects. Although this holds true in Gil Cabacungan’s news article “Beneficiaries of gov’t cash scheme turn to loan sharks” (Inquirer, 8/1/11), I would like to thank the Inquirer for bringing this issue to our attention.
In the spirit of transparency, I would like to clarify that there are indeed some cases wherein beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya used their cash grants as loan collaterals. From the Pantawid Pamilya Grievance Redress System, there were 20 reported cases in the Bicol region, one reported case in Western Samar, and one in the National Capital Region. Twenty-three cases of beneficiaries using their cash cards as loan collaterals is a small number compared to the 2.2 million households currently registered in the program. Furthermore, if these beneficiaries will continue to pawn their cash cards after being given at most three warnings, they will be permanently delisted from the program.
Finally, allow me to reiterate that this program is an avenue to show the poor that we can trust them – that they will use the money to improve their future, through education and health. Twenty-three people might have had lapses – their reasons for doing so range from immediate family emergencies to other consequences of extreme poverty, but let us not judge negatively the rest of the 2.2 million households complying with the conditions of this program for the mistakes committed by a few.
If there are other cases and irregularities in the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, it can be reported to the GRS Text Hotline 0918-912-2813. I hope the Inquirer can communicate this to its readers and to the general public as well.
Department of Social Welfare
IBP Road, Batasang Pambansa Complex,
Constitution Hills, Quezon City
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