CEBU CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Monday said it will strengthen its partnership with local government units (LGUs) to address the reported incidents of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) cash card pawning.

Jiah Sayson, DSWD-7’s 4Ps regional program coordinator, said cash card pawning has become prevalent in many localities in Cebu province, citing 59 cases in Daanbantayan in the north and “a few” cases in Minglanilla in the south.

“The problem is that 4Ps beneficiaries in Daanbantayan pawned their cards to somebody who is from Bogo City. The pawnee cannot accept cash cards from 4Ps beneficiaries in Bogo because Bogo has an ordinance that bans cash card pawning,” Sayson told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

She said beneficiaries from Minglanilla also pawned their cards to a person who is from Barangay Mambaling in the city.

Her office, she said, has been reminding beneficiaries not to pawn their cards during the monthly family development sessions, telling them that the act is considered a “misbehavior” which could be a ground for disqualification or delisting from the list.

Sayson said DSWD has been hopeful that with its partnership with the LGUs, they could pass an ordinance similar to that of Bogo to prevent cash card pawning of the beneficiaries.

The DSWD has also engaged other government entities so that they could issue a memorandum prohibiting their employees from accepting cash cards as a pledge for debt.

“Ideally, we have been using family development sessions to explain that they need to have with them their cash cards all the time because they cannot get their cash grants without the cards. They are not that big an amount. But the cash grants are a subsidy from the national government to augment their needs so that their children can go to school, they can buy medicines, and they can get their subsidy for rice,” Sayson said.

She said DSWD also partnered with the Department of Labor and Employment, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, LGUs, and other government offices that can give livelihood projects for 4Ps beneficiaries.

In a statement, the DSWD-7 said LGUs are also expected to facilitate and address the identified supply-side gaps and concerns for health, nutrition and education to comply with the program conditions.

She said the concern has been raised at the Regional Development Council as well as the Congress’ 4Ps oversight committee. (PNA)