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Sunday, 03 July 2016 15:59

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

The provincial countryside is now greening after almost half year of dry spell. Many farms in the countryside have been unproductive because of the scorching sun a few months back that forced many local government units to declare their area under state of calamity and reduced many marginal families and their dependents on the government’s grant of the “Pantawid 4 Ps program”. Worst, rumors that the program will be abolished have been spreading fear among them. It will be a “calamity”. Many beneficiaries are complaining on the unfounded rumor.

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In Zamboanga Del Sur, families are fortunate that Governor Antonio “Tony” Cerilles has made plans of alternative measures in anticipation of  the dry spell calamity. The province has provided innovative agricultural ventures purely funded by provincial funds. It has given many farmers the opportunity to earn extra income to meet the hazards of natural phenomenon like “El Nino” by distributing to interested growers, the world re-known cassava variety with the use of “gabung-gabung” organic fertilizer, an exclusive organic fertilizer product of the province of Zamboanga Del Sur, developed under the helm of Governor Tony Cerilles. This “Gabung-Gabung organic fertilizer farming”  yields thousand tons of cassava root crops per hectare  and has been awarded recently in Hanoi, Vietnam during the Agricultural Farmers conference attended by farmers in Asia and Europe.

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Table Talk will delve more on our next column on the other agricultural innovations and alternative livelihood program of Zamboanga Del Sur, purely funded and supported by provincial funds under Governor Tony Cerilles.

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Going back to the issue of the 4Ps “Pantawid Program”, it has been a subject of criticism by many concerned citizens, that beneficiaries are not well selected. Some municipalities still continue to have undeserving beneficiaries. Many do not belong to poor and marginal families but land owners, businessmen and barangay officials. This haphazard selection defeats the purpose of the 4Ps and must be investigated by the regional office of the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD), especially those tasked to implement the 4Ps in the municipal and barangay level.

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This 4Ps anomaly in the municipal and barangay level will not only injure he national government program of poverty alleviation, but will ruin more provincial government administrations’ social budget for allowing with a blind eye intentionally by the municipal and barangay 4Ps people who are not supposed to be on the list of recipients. This is mental dishonesty and corruption in the highest order.

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Scoop: Some municipalities have already received and withdrawn their 4Ps assistance,  but some have not and allegedly are almost five months delayed. Will the DSWD regional office kindly look into these delays and selective 4Ps withdrawals?