MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima has asked the Senate to investigate allegations of irregularities and shortcomings in the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps) program, the government’s social betterment program for poor families. poorest in the country.
In two separate resolutions filed by de Lima through her staff on Monday, the senator said that among the failings reported by those on the ground was the alleged failure of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to hand over cash grants on time.
There have also been allegations that the number of beneficiaries has been reduced – something the Senate needs to consider, according to de Lima.
“Recent information gathered from some recipients indicates that there have been possible shortcomings in the implementation of the program, including but not limited to delayed monthly financial benefits as well as a reduction in the amounts received. in many areas covered by the program nationwide,” she said. said in a statement.
“Such breaches, if proven, should be viewed with grave concern as they could result in some beneficiary households not complying with the eligibility conditions set out in sections 11 and 12 of the program respectively,” he said. she adds.
Poor families can obtain assistance through Republic Act No. 11310 or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Institutionalization Act which mandated the government, through the DSWD, to provide monthly stipends to beneficiaries of the social improvement program (SAP).
However, de Lima mentioned that the DSWD has encountered several issues with the implementation of the 4Ps, including the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) for calendar year 2020, that the department has not been in able to use more than 780.7 million pesos of its funds, which could have helped 139,300 beneficiaries.
State auditors stated in DSWD’s annual audit report, which was released in August 2021, that the inclusion of unqualified beneficiaries in Regions 2, 7, 8, and 11 and the administrative region of the Cordillera led to the detention of the funds.
READ: ‘DSWD deprived the poor of P780M in cash aid’
“Given DSWD’s crucial role in poverty reduction, it can ill afford any setbacks or inefficiencies in the implementation of its key social protection programs,” de Lima said.
“It is up to the Senate to verify whether the DSWD still has the capacity to ensure that none of the programs are compromised due to institutional weaknesses caused by the various tasks it has been entrusted to perform beyond its mandate. current,” she added, noting in the resolution that the DSWD has only a small staff nationwide.
By contrast, the senator said there may be a need to increase the DSWD’s numbers – from less than 3,000 now to around 25,000.
“These functions even necessitated an expansion of DSWD’s total staffing by eight times or 25,042 people in its field offices, according to R2KRN (Right to Know Right Now Coalition),” noted de Lima.
Investigating the matter, de Lima said, would allow the Senate to understand whether the laws need to be changed or whether the DSWD should not be the agency brought in to implement RA No. 11310.
INQUIRER.net has sought DSWD’s opinion on the matter, but officials have yet to issue a statement. However, the department said it was studying De Lima’s resolution.
The 4Ps is a law of which de Lima is a principal author, despite her status as an inmate at the Philippine National Police (PNP) detention facility at Camp Crame due to drug-related charges.
According to de Lima, who is seeking re-election as a senator in the 2022 election, another reason the Senate needs to pursue the matter further is that there have been rumors that the 4Ps will not continue if certain candidates are not elected. .
“Kailangang imbestigahang maigi ang isyung ito para proteksyunan ang benepisyaryo ng 4Ps. Hindi sila dapat biktimahin ng fake news and dumaan naman samga pag-aalala ukol sa benepisyo ng 4Ps dahil sa pansariling interessing ng gustong manatili as kapangyarihan,” she said. .
(It is necessary to thoroughly investigate this issue to protect the beneficiaries of the 4Ps. They should not be victims of fake news and the beneficiaries of the 4Ps should not be used for the personal interest of a few people who want to cling to power.)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.