Many poor became poorer PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 June 2015 09:56

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

The charity of public funds extended by the government to selected poor beneficiaries in the 4 P’s program may be a bane to some poor families who have become poorer because of debts from usurers. What is happening is many 4 P’s beneficiaries’ Automatic Transfer Machine (ATM) cards are held by unscrupulous usurers until a debt is fully paid. However, every time they withdraw their cash transfers, they are always overdraft and have to wait for the next withdrawal sometime after two months or quarterly. Meantime during those lull in collecting their windfall, it is lean months for them. Their children have to go to school without allowance for snacks or perhaps even their money for fare to school has to be taken from a usurer as an additional debt. The cycle of debt goes on and their ATM will stay with the usurer for a long time. When there was no 4 P’s program, many poor families live happily without debts like “the sword of Damocles” hanging over their heads. The 4 P’s is a boon to some but a bane to many poor families who are experiencing “culture shock” and unexpected windfall, for receiving thousands of pesos monthly from the government without having to work for it. Worst, many poor families are innocent of budgeting.

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The government agency like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) might take this information as exaggeration but to know the truth all they have to do is make an inventory of the ATM of 4 P’s members then you will know the truth. Another information reveals that some municipalities in the provinces are distributing 4 P’s cash transfer in cash through the municipal treasurer so a municipal official who “moonlights” as a usurer can collect debts because with ATM’s 4 P’s beneficiaries oftentimes escape without paying their debts after withdrawing. DSWD is this allowed and are you aware of this anomaly? Information also reveals that those responsible in selecting poor beneficiaries are allegedly unfair, because there are businessmen, landowners and barangay officials included in the list of beneficiaries but what is gravely anomalous is allegedly some of those businessmen 4 P’s beneficiaries are the usurers who prey on poor and helpless 4 P’s beneficiaries. This has to be uncovered before the government will go bankrupt, because billions of public money are spent to make some favored officials wealthier.

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Many 4 P’s beneficiaries in the province are complaining that they are confused as to why their high school children below 18 years old are not any more qualified beneficiaries when they heard over  radio news information that 18 years old below are still considered beneficiaries. Is this true?  This new move of the DSWD will make hundreds of children of poor 4 P’s families stop their high school education and it will defeat the purpose of the government to educate poor Filipinos. Many poor 4 P’s families in Zamboanga Del Sur are coming from the neglected IP Subanen tribe and almost all of them are peaceful farmers who are not enemies of the government. Government should not wait for them to join lawless groups so their grievances will be heard.

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Scoop: How many municipal officials are now in the business of “loan-sharking” to victimize poor 4 P’s beneficiaries? All the government has to do is send a team to the municipalities of Zamboanga Del Sur to verify this information and perhaps you will be able to know more of these shenanigans.