Philippine Standard Time:

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterates that barangay officials do not have the capacity to delist households from the roster of beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

This came after the Department received reports that there are some barangay captains threatening beneficiaries of being taken out of the program if they do not vote for the candidates that they are endorsing.

“Beneficiaries remain in the program based on their compliance to the program conditionalities and not on the decision of local officials or on their preference of candidates in the upcoming elections,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stressed.

Sec. Soliman said that the Department has strengthened the conduct of Family Development Sessions (FDS) especially during this election season to inform the beneficiaries of their rights.

A conditionality for the beneficiaries, the FDS is a venue where topics on responsible parenthood, disaster preparedness, and laws pertaining to women and children are discussed.

In the Active Citizenship Module, the beneficiaries are taught about their roles in nation-building and informed about their rights to participate in the electoral process.

Sec. Soliman also clarified that beneficiaries have the right to choose their own candidates.

“The beneficiaries are empowered individuals and it is part of their electoral freedom to vote for candidates who epitomize their beliefs and principles,” Sec. Soliman said.