FACT CHECK: How 4Ps funds are paid out to beneficiaries

Patty Pasion

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From the central office, money is directly downloaded to the Landbank of the Philippines and other service providers to facilitate payment of the cash grants

PANTAWID PROGRAM. Can 4Ps provide educational opportunities and health services through cash incentives? Photo by Leanne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s flagship anti-poverty initiative Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is again on the spotlight because President Rodrigo Duterte alleged that former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo channeled the program’s funds to the New People’s Army (NPA).

The NPA is the armed wing of the National Democratic Front, which nominated Taguiwalo. 

Duterte said there were reports that envelopes containing money from 4Ps were found in an NPA camp.  

Taguiwalo’s appointment as Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) chief was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) in August 16. CA members did not make public the reason for their decision but insiders told Rappler it was because of her links to the Left.  

She said that not even a peso of the 4Ps money passed through her, debunking the claims. The former social welfare chief explained that the funds go directly to the Landbank and other payout platforms. (READ: Not a single 4Ps peso passed through me – Taguiwalo

In its 2017 budget, the program received P78.86 billion for 4.4 million beneficiaries. Rappler mapped out how cash grants reach the beneficiaries at the grassroots level all the way from the DSWD central office. 

The General Appropriations Act specifically states that the DSWD must provide beneficiaries “direct and secure access” to the cash grants through an authorized government depository bank. 

Funds are disbursed to beneficiaries primarily through state-owned Landbank. 4Ps households can claim their money through a cash card or through offsite payments. Payout is done every two months. (READ: COA: P1.42B cash grants not claimed by 4Ps beneficiaries

Beneficiaries with cash cards can directly withdraw their payments through Landbank ATMs free of charge or via any other ATM that may incur charges of up to P20. The program also covers the bank charges. 

Meanwhile, offsite payment is an option preferred by households living in far-flung areas. Members claim their payment in cash from Landbank personnel stationed in specific venues on specific dates with the presence of DSWD workers called “municipal links” and local bookkeepers. 

Other schemes were also tapped to ensure timely payout since Landbank struggled to accommodate new members as the program expanded. 

These conduits are mostly rural and cooperative banks accredited by the DSWD. PhilPost and private partners Globe Gcash and MLhuillier also used to be service providers until 2015. Members are given acknowledgment receipts that they present over the counter to claim their payment.  

According to the DSWD, grants claimed via offsite and over-the-counter payments are all accepted in cash but not put in envelopes. Paymasters count the money right in front of the beneficiary before it is received. 

Administrative issues such as payout delay have been among the major challenges of the program. Before she left DSWD, Taguiwalo had ordered a review of the program’s implementation to identify loopholes. The agency targets completion of the review by the end of the year. – Rappler.com

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.