By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY–Director Janet Armas of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Cordillera assured that beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) and unconditional cash transfer in Tinoc, Ifugao will get their money as soon as the the police and local government gives the disbursement a go.
Armas apologized to the beneficiaries for the delay in the distribution of their pay outs saying that they will be working closer with the Philippine National Police and local governments to prevent a repeat of what happened.
“I was told that the beneficiaries arrived early for the pay out on May 22, so the mayor had to explain what happened,” Armas said.
It can be recalled that highway robbers have carted away P2.7 million in cash, which was intended as payout for beneficiaries of Tinoc at around 8:00PM on May 21 along sitio Indalmogan, Julongan village in Kiangan town, Ifugao province.
Police investigation showed that three suspects wearing masks and dark clothes stopped three members of the Lagawe Multipurpose Development Cooperative (LMDC) who were on their way to Tinoc town aboard motorcycles to deliver the cash.
Armas said the LMDC will shoulder the loss. “But I was told that the cooperative is insured and the money is bonded,” she said.
“The pay out will be as soon as possible, it is hard for us to say when exactly because it will depend on the assessment of the police and local government,” she said.
Armas said this is the first time that CCT money was robbed in the Cordillera. She said that the schedule for pay out is not being publicized in an effort to avoid incidents like the robbery. She said that only the representatives from the DSWD, local government and the beneficiaries are informed about the schudule of pay out.
“But well when you hear that beneficiaries are gathered you know it is pay out time,” she said.
Armas said Tinoc beneficiaries were scheduled to receive their money for period 6 covering December 2017 and January 2018. She added that the pay out for UCT beneficiaries for 2018 was also included in the said amount.
She explained that the DSWD conduit is Land Bank and the bank has tapped cooperatives in areas where there are no banks, like Tinoc.
Armas said the LMDC have been the conduit of Land Bank for the CCT pay out since 2017. She said that before LMDC became a conduit of Land Bank, Tinoc beneficiaries had to go to Abatan, Bugias, Benguet (for those in upper Tinoc) and Lagawe (for those in lower Tinoc).
Armas said that they have been suggesting that all beneficiaries in the Cordillera be given cash cards to avoid the ferrying of cash and untoward incidents like the recent robbery. She explained that many towns in the Cordillera do not have banks like Tinoc but it will still be safer if beneficiaries have cash cards. She said that village folks still have to go to the town centers to buy supply and for other transactions so they can include visiting the bank in their errands.
“We are hopeful that by 2019, all beneficiaries will be issued cash cards,” she said.
Armas said that while waiting for the issuance of cash cards, they will look into other ways like finding conduits in Tinoc to avoid the ferrying of big amounts of cash from Lagawe. She said they will coordinate with the local government.
Armas said that while no local conduit is available, they will have to ask for police assistance for the ferrying of cash in the future. # nordis.net