The DSWD Regional Office No. V has denied issuing registration forms, recruiting, conducting community assemblies and announcing payouts for the alleged new Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries in the fourth district of Camarines Sur.
In a statement released to the media, DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia said that the registration forms that were reportedly circulated in the municipalities of the fourth district of Camarines Sur did not come from the DSWD. Garcia emphasized that the identification of qualified beneficiaries for Pantawid Pamilya is generated solely through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTSPR) and payouts are only done through the schedules and modes approved by the Department. “For the record the DSWD is not the source of the alleged registration forms, we are not conducting community assemblies to recruit new beneficiaries for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the Partido area or anywhere else in the Region at the moment and no payouts are being conducted since March 29, 2013”, Garcia stressed.
The circulation of registration forms and the conduct of community assemblies to recruit new beneficiaries for the program in the Partido area of Camarines Sur were reported on Saturday, May 11, 2013, two days before the midterm elections.
It was also reported that on May 15, 2013 a group of persons converged at the town hall of Sagnay, Camarines Sur to “collect their grants” as “newly registered” Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.
Director Garcia said that such activities are being responded to by the DSWD through its “Bawal ang EPAL Dito” campaign which was launched and intensified during the election period to protect the Pantawid PamilyangPilipino Program, its beneficiaries and implementers against partisan political activities. The campaign also prescribed rules and norms in the conduct of activities and transactions that guided the Department’s workers. The data and information generated by the Department’s campaign revealed that political “epals” used the poverty reduction program to promote their political interests. Some used threats to gain votes by falsely informing the beneficiaries that they will be excluded from the program and lose their grants if they do not vote in their favor. Others promised to work for and deliver more benefits to Pantawid households if elected. A candidate for councilor even used “4Ps” as his nickname to generate more votes. All these “epal” acts were responded to by the DSWD and its field workers to prevent and mitigate the effects and influence of partisan politics.
“The DSWD is committed to protect the integrity of its poverty reduction programs and the safety and independence of its workers for the best interests of the poor and marginalized”, Garcia added. ###