A fifth or 15,197 of Bukidnon’s 4Ps members questionable

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News.Net/26 November) Among the 71,973 registered household beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Bukidnon is a vegetable farmer who owns 12 hectares of land and an Elf cargo vehicle in Talakag town, three owners of four-wheeled vehicles, and five Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Libona town.

How did they land in the list of beneficiaries of the national government’s flagship program that “provides cash grants to extremely poor households” with the aim to reduce poverty?

Jerome Humawan, Department of Social Welfare and Development -Bukidnon provincial grievance officer, said that they have stopped releasing funds, pending investigation, to 15,197 beneficiaries in the province due to the problem of inclusion error and non-compliance.

The DSWD, the implementing agency, has deferred the release of 15,197 or 21.11 percent of the total 71,973 registered household beneficiaries of the program in Bukidnon, about 60 percent or 9,118 households of which were due to “inclusion error complaints,” Humawan added.

Humawan told this reporter that cash benefits for the said number of recipients were not released under the government’s conditional cash transfer program dubbed 4Ps as of the November 2012 payroll.

He said about 6,078 household beneficiaries or 40 percent of 15,197 were not released with cash due to non-compliance to the program’s conditions.

The 4Ps, a conditional cash transfer, required that children will attend school and their family regularly visits health centers.

He added that only P113.29 million was released for 56, 776 of the 71,973 household beneficiaries in Bukidnon.

Of the amount only about 96 percent was released or P109.47 million because the beneficiaries did not show in the releasing bank, citing sickness and other reasons.

He said DSWD used the reports on inclusion errors from confidential complainants as basis for deferring the releases pending their field investigation.

DSWD has delisted only about 1,057 4Ps members in Bukidnon since 2011, 650 in the first batch and 407 this year. Additional 375 members, mostly from Valencia City, were due for final stage of the delisting process in December 2012.

Humawan cited the top three reasons why household beneficiaries were delisted in Bukidnon; the members were government employees and teachers; they are self employed, and high income earning barangay officials.

Possessing at least one of the qualities cited in the criteria of DSWD’s Grievance Redress System is a ground for delisting.

The list includes permanent private or public employment with salary P10, 000 and up; appointed or elected official from barangay and up; entrepreneurial activities with monthly earning of P7,000 and up; and those who are college graduates and up.

The criteria also noted that those who own a computer, two motorcycles, or any one three to four wheeled vehicles, modern electronic gadgets.

Ownership of another housing unit or land more than a hectare is also a ground for delisting.
Those households with head who have second degree relatives abroad and are supporting the household through remittances and cash assistance are also qualified for delisting.

Humawan cited the faulty survey and validation methods employed in 2009 to 4Ps woes.

He said many of those subjected to the inclusion error complaints were those who lied or did not give accurate information during the household assessment conducted for the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) in 2009.

But Humawan said that the survey list of target families were subjected to validation at the local government unit in 2009 before DSWD came up with the final list.

Any one in the community can file a complaint for inclusion error, Humawan said.

After receiving complaints, DSWD staff investigates the complaints using the criteria. Humawan said they will then submit a detailed report on the investigation, which usually takes a day for one member.

The report will be submitted to the Municipal or City Advisory Committee for deliberation. The committee files a resolution endorsing the list from their area to the Provincial Advisory Committee for finalization before submission to DSWD.

All of Bukidnon’s 20 towns and two cities have been included to the program this year.

The highest number of beneficiaries is from Valencia with about 7,756 households in 31 barangays. Humawan said additional 2,882 recipients are now being finalized for nine towns in Bukidnon.

According to 4Ps’ website, a household-beneficiary can receive as much as P1, 400 monthly, which includes P500 per month for nutrition and health expenses and P300 per month per child for a maximum of 3 children per household for educational expenses.

But household-beneficiaries must comply with the following conditions: parents must ensure that their children attend school at least 85 percent of the time, and receive vaccinations and health care.

“Pregnant women must receive pre- and post-natal care and be attended during childbirth by a skilled health professional. Parents must attend responsible parenthood seminars, mother’s classes, and parent effectiveness seminars,” it added.

The website cited that beneficiaries are selected through a Proxy Means Test, which considers the ownership of assets, type of housing, education of the household head, livelihood of the family and access to water and sanitation facilities. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)