Barangay councilor in South Cotabato removed as 4Ps beneficiary

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Municipality of Banga, South Cotabato. Map courtesy of Google

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/July 7) – A barangay councilman who allegedly received monthly cash assistance from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps) program has already been delisted, an official with the Department of Social Welfare and development (DSWD ) said.

Barangay Kagawad Dexter Donasco of San Vicente in the town of Banga, South Cotabato, is said to have remained a 4Ps recipient for eight years while a government official.

DSWD Region 12 Director Restituto Macuto said he has updated and removed from the list non-qualified recipients like Donasco of the monthly cash grant for identified poorest households.

There are only 174,705 beneficiary households left in the region, Macuto said on Wednesday.

He said they have so far removed 1,231 names from their list of beneficiaries for various reasons, including death and economic circumstances, such as when a beneficiary is already earning well and no longer needs help in government cash.

But Macuto clarified that Donasco became a beneficiary when he was not yet a barangay official.

“He was already written off,” the DSWD director said of Donasco.

On June 29, the Banga City Council suspended Donasco for two months and slapped him with administrative charges for stealthily benefiting from the 4Ps when he was a government official.

San Vicente barangay chairman Elpedio Patarata said Donasco refused to waive 4P benefits despite information from DSWD staff.

Patarata said Donasco was suspended for openly committing gross dishonesty contrary to the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160).

Patrata said he also filed an administrative complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman for violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Servants and Employees.

Donasco became a 4Ps beneficiary in 2009 and won a seat on the barangay council in 2012, earning him a monthly fee of 11,000 pesos. But instead of giving up the 4Ps monthly Ps2,500 aid, he continued to claim the money despite being told not to by his colleagues.

Patarata said Donasco had been asking for 4Ps help for more than eight years even though he received a monthly fee as a barangay alderman.

Twice, in 2014 and 2020, Donasco was approached by DSWD staff telling him to give up and return his 4Ps cash card which he apparently disregarded.

The barangay chairman said Donasco told him he could not pay 4P aid yet because he needed money to support his children’s schooling.

Generally, a government staff member can only qualify as a 4Ps beneficiary and claim the cash assistance if they only receive 5,000 pesos or less in allowance or honorarium from the government.

The 4Ps program aims to improve the health, nutrition and education of children aged 0-18.

The government modeled the 4P cash grant on family cash assistance programs in poor African countries, where it has helped lift millions of people out of poverty. (Rommel Rebollido/MindaNews)

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