DSWD – Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program – may nagbago ba talaga? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 10:06

Last Thursday, November 27, 2014, the Regional Office-9 of DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) invited local media of  Zamboanga City to the ‘Media Launch of Kaya Ko ang Pagbabago!’ at a downtown hotel. Simultaneously held by other DSWD regional offices nationwide, it officially launched DSWD’s social media accounts, Facebook and Twitter, ‘Kaya Ko Ang Pagbabago.’

These two social platforms will post anecdotes, statements, blogs, videos, and photos to reflect the positive changes in the lives of the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, their press release stated. In short, it will share true happy stories of satisfied Pantawid beneficiaries.

The Pantawid, by the way, is patterned by DSWD after the CCTs (Conditional Cash Transfer) of Mexico, Columbia, and Brazil which have been proven to be successful in reducing their poverty and improving social development in these countries (Pep Talk has reservations if this success is true). Philippine Government has committed to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child to provide better health, education, and other basic rights of the Filipino child.

Now, why is DSWD coming out with this kind of social campaign? Recently, there are clamors to phase out Pantawid Pamilya for its failure to deliver its purpose. Millions of pesos – government money, have been used for the last 5 years, and yet there seems to be no big impact from the program. Only few have benefited?

These social accounts hope to reverse the misimpressions and paint a positive perspective of the Pantawid. DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman defended the program with this press release statement, “What we usually hear about the program are criticisms of from people who really do not know much about how it works. With this campaign, we hope to bring out the benefits of the program, as manifested by these stories of pagbabago (change). We want to amplify the voices of our beneficiaries, our partners, and our workers.”

Pantawid program is supposed to eradicate poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; and improve maternal health. But 5 years have lapsed since it began; there has not been a significant and big improvement in the lives of most poor Filipino families that can be attributed to the Pantawid program.

May nagbago ba talaga? (Was there really a change in the lives of poor Filipino families?) How many beneficiaries of the many who received it, Sec. Dinky, whose lives have improved under this program? is Pep Talk question during the open media forum.

Only the rich are getting richer nowadays. And if the pork barrel was not spilled, more politicians are becoming richer, if not millionaires, billionaires.

Hmmm. Sec. Dinky – let me ask you, specific questions. Zamboanga del Sur is considered one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. How much Pantawid fund was used in this province and how many lives of the poor families have improved? Where can we get the names and address of the beneficiaries? How much did each received? How did you monitor the money distributed? Were it used properly?
How much is your 2015 funding? Where will it go?

The answers to these questions will be more appreciated if you can post it in the DWSD website. Pep Talk deems that the two social accounts are just “praise DSWD strategies.” Filipinos, who are generally emotional, loves feel good stories. And this is what these two accounts aim to hit.

Maybe Pantawid has worked in some areas or failed. I don’t know. The people need to see data, figures, and facts how effective Pantawid program per provinces, per cities, per barangay.

Unlike Senator Mirriam Defensor-Santiago, who is asking that Pantawid program be scrapped totally because it failed, Pep Talk thinks otherwise – it has good intentions but……. Accomplishment reports submitted by government agencies are usually positive and bias.

Let the program be reviewed and critic by multi-sectors of the community – academe, media, religious heads, business chamber even by social civic groups – where it was implemented every quarter of the year. Allow these private groups have free access to DSWD accomplishment reports, assess it, and make recommendations at the end. After all, the Filipino people are the bosses and have the right to know.

In every disaster, nature or man-made, there are opportunities to make bundle of money. This is confirmed during the Zamboanga City. At the expense of the IDPs, many made big profits – enormous profits. Can DSWD publish the names of the suppliers and how much they were paid and for what? Who is asking? The Boss – the Filipino people.

Isaiah 59:14 “So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.” NIV

By Dante Corteza