DSWD slams ‘epal’ pols PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 August 2015 13:55

By LEI MOHAMMAD

After receiving numerous reports that some politicians have been claiming credit for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or 4Ps, and using it for their political ends, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has intensified the information drive for the ‘Bawal and Epa lDito’ (BAED) campaign.

The BAED campaign aims to protect the pantawid households from baseless threats of removal from the program if they will not support a particular candidate this coming polls.

DSWD through its spokesperson Assistant Secretary Javier Jimenez, visited selected provinces and cities, including Zamboanga City, to make some rounds in radio and TV stations and clarify this issue.

Jimenez in his interview with local televisions and radio stations in Zamboanga City yesterday emphasized that beneficiaries should not believe this undue politicking which is a form of ‘epal’.

“It’s only DSWD Regional and National Offices who are authorized to delist beneficiaries and enroll a qualified household to the program.” Jimenez said in an interview.

He also disclosed that the department was quite alarmed by the said reports because Pantawid familiesthat are now numbering to 4.4 million familieswhich form a significant part of the voting population of the country.

Jimenez added that DSWD is non-partisan. However, LGUs remain to be one of the partner stakeholders of the agency in implementing poverty reduction programs like Pantawid.

“We appreciate LGUs and even politicians expressing support to the program because their involvement includes provision of supply-side support, as well as monitoring, and grievance resolution. But the identification of program beneficiaries is still with the DSWD.” Jimenez stated.

When asked about how the department reacts to this reports, Jimenez said that they never resort to any confrontation with the reportedly involved politicians, but they try talk to them in a subtle way.

Jimenez finally encouraged the public to report all forms of anomalies in line with program implementation to DSWD’s hotline, 0918-9232813 so they can be addressed and resolved.

Epal is short for “mapapel” or people desperately trying to do everything just to be recognized. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago had filed Senate Bill 1967 or the anti-epal bill,  which seeks to prohibit public officials from claiming credit through sign age announcing publicworks and other government projects.

PantawidPamilyang Pilipino Program uses a conditional cash transfer mechanism to provide certain amount of grant for health, education and nutritional needs to identified poor families. To date there are 538,765 household beneficiaries in region 9 making it the fifth region in the country with the largest number of Pantawid families. — Lei Mohammad, DSWD 9