DAGUPAN CITY, May 9 (PIA) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) advised beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to vote freely.
DSWD Region-I Assistant Regional Director Marlene Febes-Peralta said that several local chief executives have threatened beneficiaries to de-list them from the program if they would not give their support in the coming polls.
“Beneficiaries should not allow themselves to be coerced into voting for such candidates,” Peralta said in an interview.
Peralta said that the DSWD is lodged with the authority to identify which families should be listed or de-listed from the program and not the mayors.
“Although incumbent [officials] help us with the program, we [DSWD] ourselves do not tell the beneficiaries whom to vote for,” she said.
“Beneficiaries should not be used as instruments during the election,” she added.
Peralta said that her office has also intensified its Anti-Epal campaign and has already warned three local chief executives who have tried using the ploy.
Because of such warnings, the DWSD is sometimes interpreted by incumbent officials as biased toward the opposing candidates.
“Some of our staff had been threatened with removal from service. Officials need not threaten anyone if their track records are really good,” Peralta said.
She said that the beneficiaries are easy to mobilize and convince, particularly if they are promised some money.
“The public should help these poor people. They will get poorer if they get exploited,” she added. (MCA/ARRF—PIA 1-Pangasinan)#