Monday, September 10, 2012

Poverty Funds of the Philippines

Published by Bohol Standard

This early, politicians who are to engage in the 2013 elections are being warned.

Don't take advantage of the Pantawid Pamilya ng Pilipinas Program (4Ps) of the national government during election period.

The warning came even as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has issued a memorandum dubbed "Preparation For The Election Ban of 2013" addressed to all regional directors of Regions I to XII, including the National Capital Region (NCR), Cordillera Autonomous Region, CAraga (CAR) and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), of the agency signed by undersecretary Parisya H. Taradji. Copy of the said "order" was obtained from the provincial office of the DSWD led by Ms. Papiasa Bustrillos.

The "order" said that there shall be no release of capital seed fund of the 4Ps during public gatherings "with the presence of candidates for the 2013 national and local elections." The "order," however, provided that the said release may be done at the community level with "simple forum on how to use the said fund that would benefit the micro enterprises and families the most."

Secondly, No releases of capital seed fund is allowed from March 31, 2013 to May 31, 2013, which is within the election period. The fund releases to beneficiaries "should be done on or before December 31, 2013 to give ample time for monitoring and technical assistance.

"Project implementers should be non-partisan at all times. Selection of beneficiaries should be based on the Pantawid Pamilya list and the national household targeting system (NHTS) for poverty reduction for Non-Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries."

But the order did not provide for punishment for those DSWD directors who may be caught violating the order.

On the same vein, billboards or murals with images and names of a certain politician or officials in infrastructure projects at the road shoulders have resurfaced recently. There's even one billboard of a high ranking official in the province whose images and names are paired with that of President Benigno Aquino III in a road project which may tantamount to violating the President's order and DPWH order No. 37.

In fact, it was President Aquino who initiated to issue a memorandum to cabinet secretaries to refrain from using his name or his photograph on billboards in project sites. To carry out the President's order, DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson has issued department order (DO) 37 dated August 8, 2010, "banning the placement of names and pictures of politicians on government projects."

The said DO 37 provides that project billboards "should only contain the name and location of the project, name of the contractor, the date the project started, contract completion date, contract cost, construction consultant, implementing office of the DPWH, and source of fund."

The DO 37 provides that "name(s) and/or picture(s) of any personages should not appear in the billboard."

It also provides for an standard billboards measuring 4ft.x 8ft. (1200 mm x 2400 mm) using ½ inch (12mm) marine plywood or tarpaulin poster on 3/16 inch (5 mm) marine plywood [see resource attachment below] shall be installed. For each building project, the billboard shall be installed in front of the project site.

And "for each road/bridge/flood control project, two billboards shall be installed i.e., one at the beginning and one at the end of the project and for road projects with length of 10 kilometers or more, billboard(s) shall also be installed at every 5 kilometers interval."

A Senate Bill banning the said billboards with images/faces and names of the officials has been filed by Senator Miriam Santiago Defensor remains pending considering that many politicians like the senators and congressmen are likely to be affected if the bill becomes a law.

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