By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-7) in Central Visayas encouraged all Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) partner-beneficiaries to follow safety protocols during cash grant payouts to avoid getting infected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
DSWD-7 Regional Director Rebecca Geamala enjoined the 4Ps beneficiaries to follow the exact payout schedule as advised and confirmed by their respective 4Ps City and Municipal Links throughout the region.
“That is the time they can withdraw their cash grant using their cash card in the nearest Landbank ATM machine,” Geamala said.
Cash grants credited through the Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) card may be withdrawn from any Land Bank of the Philippines Automated Teller Machines (LBP-ATMs) or any ATM subject to minimal charges. Beneficiaries may also use their EMV cards in establishments that receive payment through point-of-sale (POS), Geamala added.
In withdrawing their cash grants, the 4Ps beneficiaries are encouraged to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like face mask, gloves, handkerchief and bring hand sanitizers or alcohol and umbrella.
Physical distancing at least one meter should also be strictly followed by 4Ps beneficiaries while lining-up for the ATM machine. After withdrawing their cash grant and purchasing important items, 4Ps beneficiaries are also encouraged to properly wash their hands, disinfect before entering their house and change clothes.
“In times like this, the cash grant would be a big help to the 4Ps beneficiaries for them to buy their needs like food and vitamins, but everyone should be cautious enough to avoid the spread the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) to others,” Geamala said.
Nenita Moncada, a Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) beneficiary from Barangay Carreta, Cebu City, who worked as a street vendor and now sells viands in their neighborhood said that the cash grants they received from the government helps in augmenting their family’s needs.
“Dako gyud ang natabang aning programa sa among pamilya labi na sa pagpa-eskwela sa akong mga anak nga naninguha pud sa ilang pagtuon,” Moncada said. (The program helps our family especially in sending our children to school who are persistent in their studies.)
Department is temporarily suspending 4Ps activities such as the conduct of the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS) and the assessment of household beneficiaries using the Social Welfare and Development Indicators (SWDI) due to the massive community quarantine in many areas in the region.
The Department has also waived the program conditionalities for the months of February and March following the signing of the resolution on Force Majeure.
Under Rule VIII Section 15 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act (RA) 11310 or the 4Ps Act, the Secretary of DSWD may suspend the monitoring of compliance of beneficiaries to program conditionalities under “force majeure” circumstances.
This means that beneficiaries will be receiving their full grants for the said period without compliance to program conditions which includes sending and keeping their school-aged children in school; pre and post-natal care for mothers; regular and preventive check-ups for children aged 5 and below; deworming for children aged 14 and below; and attendance to the monthly conduct of the Family Development Session (FDS).
For the succeeding months, the Department will assess the situation and will recommend accordingly regarding suspension of 4Ps activities and waived program conditionalities.
The 4Ps is a national poverty reduction strategy of the national government. It invests in the health, nutrition and education of poor households for an improved well-being. Currently, it has 282,575 household beneficiaries in Central Visayas region.