Sec. Bainon Karon on politicians: “Pantawid” not a campaign vehicle for political advancement Launches “BAWAL ANG EPAL DITO” campaign.
RESWAD, Brgy. Semba, D.O.S., Maguindanao- Regional Vice-Governor and Concurrent DSWD-ARMM Secretary Hadja Bainon G. Karon, said politicians should not use the Philippines’ Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program or commonly known as “Pantawid Pamilya” for their political advancement.
This was the pronouncement of Sec. Karon during the recent regional pilot campaign on Anti-Epal or “BAWAL ANG EPAL DITO” with the objective to protect the dignity of the program and ensure rights of the beneficiaries due for them.
Sec. Karon has reiterated once more that only the DSWD can delist beneficiaries from the program if they have not complied with the set conditions or in any case they had committed any violations.
In accordance to the preventive measure approach of the department, DSWD National Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman issued a memorandum sometime in September 2012 to advise DSWD employees not to participate or be used in any political propaganda. It was stated in said memo by the Secretary that if anyone from DSWD caught using the program in favor of a politician will be immediately suspended, where a fact finding will soon to follow.
In this regard, Sec. Karon emphasized that in case her office would receive complaints from anyone where it describes the circumstance and identified names of DSWD personnel from municipal links up to the regional office personnel engaging in partisan politics using the program will get suspended right away before the start of investigation.
Further, Sec. Karon admitted the efforts of the agency to protect Pantawid Pamilya from political interests. In this regard, Sec. Karon stressed that if the agency is going to have an event, there should be no tarps with the politician’s faces and also from the part of DSWD.
More so, Sec. Karon emphasized that DSWD-ARMM is communicating the message clearly: “Pantawid Pamilya” is not a campaign vehicle for political advancement.
On “Bawal ang EPAL dito” Campaign…
DSWD-ARMM is currently rolling out a media campaign to inform the public that no local politician has the authority to add or delist CCT beneficiaries called “Bawal ang EPAL dito” campaign.
Since the May 2013 national and local elections are fast approaching, the department is worried that some politicians may take advantage of the Pantawid Pamilya program to gain leverage. In anticipation of such incidents, DSWD-ARMM is ready to receive reports, feedbacks, and messages about politicians or candidates who may claim to have the authority to enlist and delist household beneficiaries from the program. Complainants can avail of the department’s Grievance Redness System by simply sending a text with their “name/area/complaint” to 0918-9122813.
“DSWD-ARMM will prepare and distribute advocacy materials that will indicate nobody can remove or add to the list of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries since it’s a national program,” said Sec. Karon.
Further, Sec. Karon mentioned that Family Development Sessions (FDS) inculcate in beneficiaries the values of active citizenship, including their rights and responsibilities. She said they address very important challenges for poor people, and that they understand the power they have and using that power to change their situation.
The Pantawid Pamilya Program implementation in ARMM currently provides cash grants to more than 300,000 households. Enrolled families get a monthly cash grant of P500 to cover healthcare costs while each child below 14 gets P300 for education. As conditionalities, the beneficiaries are required to send their children to school, and submit them to regular medical check-ups.
As reflected in the proposed 2013 national budget which recently passed in the Senate, more than P44 billion has been allotted to the conditional cash transfer program, up from P39 billion in 2012. (GILMHAR A, LAO, Regional Information Officer, Pantawid Pamilya, DSWD-ARMM)