DSWD seeks exemption of CCT from poll ban
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - March 13, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) yesterday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to exempt the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program from the election-related ban on the release of public funds.

During a hearing at the Comelec office, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) national deputy project manager Tina Solloso said the CCT will continue during the election period but no money will be released to the beneficiaries when the election ban takes effect on March 29.

The DSWD official assured the Comelec they will not dole out cash to the beneficiaries during the 45-day election ban.

Solloso said the agency would have a mechanism to shield the program from politics this coming elections.

“We will do the next payment on the last week of May or first week of June,” she said during the hearing on the request of Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman for the program to be exempted from election ban.

The DSWD gives an allowance of P2,800 to some 3.8 million poor families every two months.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes earlier expressed concern that the CCT will be exploited by some candidates in the May elections.

“I was worried that the program will be exploited by politicians but it was made clear that the DSWD will not give any money, so we don’t have a problem anymore,” Brillantes added.

Soliman also asked the Comelec to allow the release of funds for the DSWD’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) project in Mindanao and its disaster relief operations in typhoon-hit areas.

“The continuation of the PAMANA project is essential to sustain the peace process in Mindanao as well as to realize the peace and development roadmap of the President,” she said.

The Omnibus Election Code and Comelec Resolution No. 9585 ban the release, disbursement and expenditure of public funds, construction of public works, delivery of materials for public works and issuance of treasury warrants during election period.

Soliman, however, said the prohibition on the release of government funds does not apply to ongoing public works projects that started before the campaign period.

The agency’s projects include the construction of bunkhouses and temporary shelters in Davao Oriental for typhoon “Pablo” victims, and shelter assistance projects in Regions 10, 11, and 12 for the victims of recent disasters and areas affected by the armed conflict.

The DSWD chief also questioned an earlier resolution of the poll body transferring to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) the function of disbursing funds for relief and rehabilitation efforts during disasters. – With Helen Flores

COMELEC COMELEC CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES DAVAO ORIENTAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT ELECTION MASAGANANG PAMAYANAN MINDANAO OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE AND COMELEC RESOLUTION NO PANTAWID PAMILYANG PILIPINO PROGRAM PHILIPPINE RED CROSS
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