Protect the 4P’s
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Department of Social Welfare and Development recently gave the Commission on Elections an idea on how it plans to shield the government’s conditional cash transfer program from politics this coming elections as it asked the Comelec to exempt the CCT from the election-related ban on the release of public funds. Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program national deputy project manager Tina Soloso said the CCT will continue during the election period but no money will be released to the beneficiaries when the election ban takes effect on March 29 until after the elections.
The DSWD official assured the Comelec that they will not dole out cash to the beneficiaries during the 45-day election ban, with the next payment to be scheduled after the elections. The DSWD gives an allowance of P2,800 to some 3.8 million poor families every two months and Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes had earlier expressed concern that the CCT could be exploited by some candidates in the May elections. Aside from the concerns of the Comelec Chair, the opposition also has good reason to be worried that their administration rivals are getting an undue advantage from the P44-billion program.
The DSWD has assured the Comelec that the agency has a mechanism to shield the program from politics this coming elections and this proposal to not dole out cash during the 45-day election ban sounds like a practical idea.
A recent World Bank report that says poor families under the 4P’s are getting better education, health and nutrition than families that aren’t makes a case for the continuation of the program and the upcoming elections shouldn’t erase the gains that have been made. It is up to the DSWD and the vigilant public to ensure that this well-meaning and apparently effective program is implemented properly, and that means free from politics this coming elections.
It is very difficult to shield a cash dole out program such as the 4P’s from politics but if the DSWD and the affected families can find a way that will prevent it from being used by politicians to further their own ends, then by all means it should be pursued. And if it becomes clear that there is no way to shield the 4P’s from politics in the coming months, then it has to be suspended before politicians get to undo all the good that it has already achieved.*