Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program fund’s prone to corruption

As the President requests for the P16 billion increase of the CCT (or commonly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps)) funds for the year 2012, Kadamay fears that it would only invite more graft and corruption.

“We doubt the effectiveness of the program, as well as the way that money is being accounted. We’ve been asking the DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] for the complete audit of the funds used in the past, but they provided nothing,” Badion disclosed.

It seems that Kadamay had an ally in the person of social critic and blogger, M. J. Flores who believes that there is “dirt” behind the implementation of the 4Ps.

“Because the program is dealing with so much money, we can’t help but doubt that the funds of the program won’t just go to the pockets of dirty politicians,” he said in his article “A Utilitarian Examination to the Conditional Cash Transfer/Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program”, published in the opinion and social analysis website, kuru-kuro.org.

Involving CSO, other govt. institution to prevent corruption in 4Ps

The 4Ps was the pet project of the former Macapagal-Arroyo administration and has been running for almost three years now. Since its inception in the year 2008, there had already been 2.3 million families, allover the Philippines benefited from the program, the DSWD said.

Social Welfare Secretary and chief implementer of the 4Ps, Corazon “Dinky” J. Soliman said that they are all half-way of reaching the target of 4.6 million households, or almost hundred per cent increase of the current number of family-beneficiaries of the 4Ps, by the end of 2013.

In order to ward off the suspicion of corruption in the implementation of the 4Ps, the DSWD said that it has already forged an agreement between private institutions, civil society organizations, and other government agencies to ensure that there is proper accounting of the money and that the program is effectively implemented.

In the DSWD website, it states that as of February 2011, seventy-seven (77) national and local non-government organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the agency to empower their active participation in the 4Ps.

The DSWD said that the formalization of the partnership through the MOA defines the specific roles and functions of the CSO and DSWD in the monitoring and implementation of poverty-reduction programs, which is in line of the fulfillment of President’s platform on good governance and poverty reduction.

“For DSWD in particular, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is a system for cooperation between the two parties for the purpose of delivering basic social services to the poor, implementing development projects of the Government and instituting transparency and accountability mechanisms to fight corruption. This may be done in any of these four ways: (1) "Bantay," or projects and activities geared towards fighting corruption; (2) "Gabay," a mechanism for extending technical assistance; (3) "Kaagapay," or anti poverty projects and activities; or (4) "Tulay," which refers to facilitating action, feedback and monitoring,” Soliman stated.

The DSWD also announced that CSOs and NGOs are now welcome to actively participate in the Pantawid Pamilya through adoption of areas covered by the program.

Urban poor alliance, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) has assailed MalacaƱang’s alleged lies over the conditional cash transfer (CCT), saying it has not improve the lives of the poor as many remain homeless, foodless, and jobless.

In the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 25, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III boasted about the effectiveness of the CCT as the number of hungry Filipinos has allegedly dropped by more than five per cent, from 20.5 per cent last year, to 15.1 per cent this year, based on the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

“With the soaring food and other commodity prices, how come that the President can claim that there’s a lot of Filipinos who are not hungry? There’s a lot of Filipinos who remain jobless, neither there’s a substantial increase on the wages of workers and employees, both in the public and the private sectors,” Carlito Badion, Kadamay national vice chairperson, said in a statement.

The 4Ps intends to 1) Improve health conditions of children aged 0-14; 2) To improve the health of pregnant and lactating mothers; 3) To raise consumption of nutrient defense foods among households; 4) To increase enrollment/attendance of children on elementary and high school; and 5) To encourage parent’s participation in the growth and development of their children, and their involvement in the community.

However, while the number of self-rated poor in the Philippines dropped by two percentage points, the number of poor Filipinos remains at 49 per cent or 9.8 million families, according to the SWS survey published last July 8.

“Partner CSOs may assess every step of the program in order to ensure good governance and transparency in all levels. The DSWD shall also facilitate training/workshop and transfer of technology to CSO members. Concretely, volunteer organizations may be involved in any the following ways: (a) coordinate with the leaders of Citizens’ Organizations for the participation of their volunteers in the implementation of the program; (b) participate in Community Assemblies as part of the beneficiary identification process; (c) on-the-ground audit of the Compliance Verification System; (d) assist in the Beneficiary Updating System; e) assist in the implementation of the Grievance Redress System; and in the (f) enhancement and implementation of the Family Development Session modules,” the DSWD website stated.

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