Soliman orders probe on misuse of anti-poverty funds in remote villages

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BAGUIO CITY – Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman ordered the investigation on the alleged misuse of anti-poverty funds by beneficiaries of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), especially those living in remote villages in the different parts of the archipelago.

Soliman made the order after Mayor Johnny Maymaya of Tinglayan, Kalinga personally brought to her attention that there are some beneficiaries of the CCT in his place who do not use their monthly financial assistance for the purposes defined in their agreement.

According to Maymaya, some CCT beneficiaries in a remote village in their place reportedly own a small rice paddy that served as their inheritance from their parents and that they had been tending to the same as their source of food over the past several decades.

“When they were enrolled in the CCT and they started receiving their allowances, the owners of the rice paddy were no longer seen tending to their property and there were different individuals attending to their plantation area,” Maymaya told Secretary Soliman.

The municipal mayor later learned from sources in the village that the CCT beneficiaries became lazy and used their month allowance to hire laborers who will work on their rice paddy while they stay home doing nothing.

Worst, Maymaya informed Secretary Soliman that CCT beneficiaries who had no vices prior to their being accepted to the program, were now reported to be engaged in vices such as smoking, drinking alcohol and even gambling among themselves.

Soliman expressed disappointment over Maymaya’s report, saying that there is really a need to conduct further investigation on the matter which could lead to the removal of the beneficiaries from the list of those who will continue to receive their allowances.

She underscored the P1,400 monthly allowance being given to CCT beneficiaries is simply an assistance in order to keep their children to school and for pregnant women to regularly visit their health center to ensure the delivery of a healthy child.

Under the program, the P600 is earmarked for the health needs of the mother while P300 each will be for the children to attend school for a maximum of three children.

Mayor Maymaya said even residents in the village where they were able to record such practice cannot accept the fact that those who are in need of sources of livelihood are the ones being engaged in vices and that they could even afford to hire laborers to take care of their rice paddy.

Expressed gratitude to Secretary Soliman for her timely action on his request for investigation, hoping that those who are similarly situated must be removed from the list of CCT beneficiaries so that those who deserved to receive their monthly allowances will be the ones to be in the list.

By Dexter A. See

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