4Ps beneficiaries told not to pawn cash cards

(Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Under no circumstances should beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) pawn their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards or cash cards.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development – Region 6 (DSWD-6) reiterated the call following reports that some 4Ps beneficiaries are using their cash cards as guarantee or collateral when taking loans.

“Pawning of cash cards is considered as misbehavior or misdemeanor which is a clear violation of the program policy. We call on beneficiaries to ensure that the cash grants are spent for their children’s schooling and good health,” DSWD-6 Regional Director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre said.

Information received by the 4Ps’ Regional Grievance Redress System (GRS) from the Iloilo Program Operations Office (IPOO) indicated that the alleged cash card pawning happened in Guimbal, Iloilo only last month.

As reported, the pawning was transacted through a “pawn-runner or middleman” between the beneficiaries and pawnbroker.

As an immediate action in consonance with the existing GRS protocols for erring beneficiaries, the identified Pantawid households involved were subjected to counseling and were issued warning letters for the first offense.

On top of that, their accounts with Landbank, which issued the cash cards, were also tagged as “locked” to avoid future withdrawals of the loan shark or any person holding their cash cards.

It appeared that pawning of cash cards is also happening in other parts of the country.

Other habitual offenders were subjected to cash grants suspension or referred for delisting, depending on the assessment of the Municipal Link officer and the social worker in-charge.

DSWD-6 is also tapping the help of the Local Government Unit (LGU) to recover the cash cards that were entrusted to unauthorized persons.

The program is also in coordination with its finance team on what possible options can be made so that these households can have access to their cash grants.

Macapobre said that pawning of cash cards is a violation of the program policy set by the program under the Pantawid Pamilya National Advisory Council (NAC).

NAC is an inter-agency and highest policy-making body that provides policy directions and guidance on matters pertinent to Pantawid Pamilya implementation.

NAC Resolution No. 20 series of 2014 states that beneficiaries accused of or caught pawning their cash cards will face the following sanctions:

-first offense, warning by the Local Social Welfare and Development Office (LSWDO);

-second offense, suspension of grants for one period or temporarily change of grantee to another responsible adult member or in the absence of an eligible household member, the LSWDO, until the suspension period has concluded; and

-third offense, termination from the program issued by the NAC based on the recommendation of the Regional Advisory Committee.

Appeals will no longer be entertained after the approval of NAC.

As of February 2022, Region 6 has 318, 643 active 4Ps beneficiaries. (With reports from DSWD-6)