4Ps being used to buy votes, says youth group

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - Iner) ( Cebu Exam-

CEBU – The youth group Anakbayan accused the Aquino administration for allegedly using the Conditional Cash Transfer ( CCT) or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ( 4Ps) as a form of “legalized vote buying” and the use of public funds for the Liberal Party electoral campaign.

Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said the government is contributing all its resources for the ruling party’s campaign, particularly on presidential aspirant Mar Roxas.

He said patronage politics is the real meaning of “Tuwid na Daan,” recalling statements by Department of Social Welfare and Development ( DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman warning that “the fate of these programs would now be up to people voting for new leaders in the 2016 elections.”

Crisostomo

said this is on top of the CCTs’ failure as an anti- poverty measure and its taking away of funds that should have been directly allotted for social services. For 2016, P64 billion will be allotted for the 4Ps, more than half of the DSWD’s P110.8 billion budget.

The Commission on Audit ( COA) have previously criticized the 4Ps, pointing out that many beneficiaries are not actually poor and that billions in funds remain un- liquidated. Despite the increase in the 4Ps budget in past years, COA also noted a decline in the number of program beneficiaries.

“The CCTs is being used by the Aquino government to buy votes and get support of local government for the Roxas campaign. 4Ps assemblies have been transformed into election sorties where beneficiaries are threatened with the slashing of dole- outs if Roxas doesn’t win the presidency,” Crisostomo said.

He also slammed the use of government vehicles and other facilities for the Roxas campaign after vigilant netizens have recently posted a series of exposes in social media against such grave misuse of public funds for electoral purposes.

Some of these include a photo of a government pick- up trucks used to transport Roxas’ campaign posters and workers in the provinces.

“We call on the Commission on Elections to disqualify Liberal Party candidates using public funds, including Mar Roxas. We call on candidates for the 2016 elections to reject CCTs and stop the 4Ps program. It is also failed and discredited anti- poverty measure. It is nothing but legalized vote- buying,” Crisostomo said.

The DSWD has strongly denied Crisostomo’s allegations, saying, the program helps poor families in the country.

A surgical and medical mission at Cebu Provincial Hospital in Danao City was conducted by the Philippine Medical Association of Southern California and Far Eastern University, Nicanor Reyes School of Medical- Alumni Foundation. The humanitarian mission was also in partnership with Cebu Medical Society, Philippine College of Surgeons and the Cebu Provincial Government and City Government of Danao. ( Cebu Provincial Government)

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