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DSWD launches “biometric system” in releasing 4P’s subsidies at Matag-ob town

Leyte governor Carlos Jericho Petilla explains to Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman how the biometrics system works. Looking on are (L-R) DSWD regional director Leticia Corillo-Diokno, Sr. Eloisa David, an unidentifiable personality, Matt Torres, Matag-ob Mayor Mike Torrevillas, the governor and Manuel Torres Sr., the father of Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez.

MATAG-OB, LEYTE – “This is people empowerment. This is what the programs of the government are all about,” said Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) during the launching of the use of biometric system in the release of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or 4P’s subsidy program.
“Mao ni ang gahum naa sa tawo.  Kon unsa ang programa sa gobyerno gidala kini namo kaninyo kay kamo angay makadawat ani. Gihimo ang biometrics system aron paspas mudangat kaninyo ang kwarta tabang gikan sa gobyerno.  Pa-eskwela sa kabataan ug pag atiman sa panglawas,” Soliman said in mostly Bisaya for the 4Ps beneficiaries present to understand.  (This is people empowerment in which the government wants to reach out to you through our CCT program.  To empower you in fighting poverty through this social protection interventions and making the cash releases faster and ensure the recipient is the one personally receiving this assistance.)
Secretary Soliman also thanked Leyte Governor Jericho “Icot” Petilla for coming up with the CCT biometric system.  “This is the first in the country and we will soon be launching this in Maguindanao where there are thousands of beneficiaries of the 4Ps- Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino,” Soliman said to the applause of the crowd. Maguindanao is a province under the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
She also thanked the three scholars of the Income Creating Opportunities through Technology – Information Technology (ICOT-IT) namely Argie A. Abedejas, Kristylene I. Sayao and John Mickel Almeñe, who developed the biometrics software with the coaching of another ICOT-IP Scholar Blas Mendiola.
For Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez’s part, her representative and brother-in-law Vince Rama said, “This biometric system used for the cash pay-out for the 4Ps beneficiaries is a brilliant move of the DSWD and Governor Petilla, ensuring the government’s assistance to be released faster”.
Gov. Petilla, for his part, cautioned the recipients and reminded them the subsidies come with conditions. He said it was conceptualized to help them avoid using their ATM cards as collateral to loan sharks. With it, the LandBank comes to their town and releases the money to the beneficiaries whose identities will be known through their thumbmarks.
He added that he is proud to announce that one of the program’s designers is a 4Ps beneficiary himself, the very example of how education can save exceptional children from poverty. “We are doubly proud because this system will be adopted all over the country”, Petilla added.
“Since the government cannot personally care for you, we give the P500 health assistance for you to take care of your family, aside from the P300 educational assistance for each qualified children,” said Secretary Soliman.
Regional Director Letecia Diokno added the DSWD partnered with the Leyte Provincial Government to develop the system middle of last year.  She said that the municipality of Matag-ob implemented the 4Ps program last March 2011 yet and is part of the 4th set of areas in the region that implemented the program.
There are 21 barangays in Matag-ob with 1,205 beneficiaries and 39 parent-leaders.  As of March 2012, the beneficiaries received a total of P4,039,000 CCT.
During the biometrics launch, some P1,280,000.00 was paid out to 949 beneficiaries, Jerome Gobenciong, manager of the Land Bank of the Philippines-Ormoc Branch said.
The CCT biometric system identifies the recipients through their thumbmark. It is widely used in big establishments for employees to log in and out of work.
Matag-ob Mayor Michael Torrevillas, on the other hand, thanked the DSWD and Petilla for choosing Matag-ob as launching pad of the biometrics system.  “Our people will save transportation money in traveling to Ormoc to withdraw from the Land Bank ATM”, adding that instead of spending it in Ormoc, they will spend it in local groceries and stores so the money will circulate around the town.
As of last month, a total of P456,070,436 was released in cash assistance to 222,544 households in Eastern Visayas.
Soliman and the other dignitaries also graced the unveiling of the marker of the DSWD Core Shelter Assistance project in the town, providing families homes that they can now call their own.

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