The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has recently ordered to postpone the payment of cash grants to the beneficiaries of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program due to the current Election Ban per Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolution No. 10429.
In a memorandum issued by the Office of the Assistant Secretary and Deputy Program Director of the UCT Program dated March 29, 2019 on the cancellation of scheduled UCT payouts nationwide, it was affirmed that the request for exemption of the DSWD was not yet acted upon by the poll body.
Despite being a high priority project of the government, it was decided however that the safest course of action is to postpone the payment of cash grants until the request for exemption is granted by the COMELEC.
Meanwhile, the COMELEC released a new resolution dated April 1, 2019 allowing the department to conduct payout to the household-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and to continue the implementation of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) even during election period. (Read here: https://www.dswd.gov.ph/dswd-to-continue-its-programs-and-services-during-election-period/)
In Region 9, the UCT Regional Project Management Office (RPMO) together with the National Household Targeting Unit (NHTU) have already conducted a series of payout activities to those household beneficiaries that were validated and identified by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) or Listahanan, since November of last year.
“With respect to Field Office 9, we have already commenced the Over-the-Counter (OTC) payout to all identified beneficiaries in the region. Although, some beneficiaries, specifically from Zamboanga del Sur, were left unpaid due to the fact that the municipalities in the province were requested by the bank to be paid through conduits,” said Atty. Johanna Marie Ruiz, UCT Regional Field Coordinator.
Atty. Ruiz also assured that the funds intended for the program are being secured by the disbursing entity.
“Due to the foregoing circumstance, we would like to assure the public that all funds necessary for the implementation of the program are being kept safe by the LBP and shall be given to all identified beneficiaries, as soon as the procurement process of the bank has been completed and the DSWD has been given the exemption to proceed with the program by the COMELEC,” she expressed.
Furthermore, she reiterated that the funds shall not be used in other agenda aside from meeting the objective of the program. “The funds would NOT be used for any political agency or any other purpose aside from the true intention of the program and of the law,” she ended.
The UCT is a program of the DSWD that aims to mitigate the effects of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law particularly to poor households and individuals that may not benefit from the lower income tax rates but may be adversely affected by rising market prices.
It is currently implemented nationwide covering all 4Ps households, beneficiaries of the Social Pension Program, and other poor households (with estimated incomes falling below the poverty thresholds) identified by Listahanan. ###