DSWD laments P8-B slash in its 2016 budget; says it will affect over 15 million 4Ps beneficiaries

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Dec. 8 (PNA) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) lamented on Tuesday the Senate-initiated cut of P8 billion in the cash grants for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in its 2016 proposed budget.

According to DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman, the reduction in the budget is unacceptable and will be affecting directly the beneficiaries of 4Ps.

“We cannot accept the reduction in our budget; more so that it will be taken from the cash grants for Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries,” Soliman said in a statement.

“Just this morning, our Department was made aware of a Senate-initiated cut of P8 billion in the cash grants for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries in our 2016 proposed budget,” she said.

“This was made despite the fact that the Senate has approved our budget proposal in the budget plenary session in November, without deductions. In fact, they even put in additional funds to our Social Pension and Supplementary Feeding Programs so we can cover more indigent Filipinos in need of government support,” the DSWD chief added.

Secretary Soliman said that Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Juan Ponce Enrile and Loren Legarda, the proponents of the cut, should explain to more than 15 million Pantawid Pamilya individual beneficiaries their intention in cutting the budget.

She explained that there is an urgent need to restore the original proposed and approved budget in the plenary session in November.

“It has to be put back as the P8-billion deduction means that for two months, 4.4 million households will not receive health and education grants. For two months, 10.2 million children will not be able to go to school to study nor visit a health facility to have their physical fitness checked. For two months, there will be no Family Development Sessions (FDS) that the parents will attend and learn from,” the DSWD Chief pointed out.

Meanwhile, she lauded the action of the DSWD budget sponsor, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto who committed to work on the restoration of the budget to the proposed amount of P113 billion.

She further said that she is wondering over the sudden decision and why it was made despite the fact that the Senate has approved their budget proposal in the budget plenary session last November, without deductions. (PNA)