CORTES, Bohol, March 7, (PIA)—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) up-scales its then successful “Bawal ang Epal” campaign with a new social empowerment program that hopes to embolden communities to deter opportunistic individuals from sitting in and using government’s anti-poverty initiatives as launching pad for their political dreams.
The program, called “Tuloy and Pagbabago” is a follow on to the “Kaya Ko ang Pagbabago” which had Bawal ang Epal campaign, bares Phoebe Jen Indino, information officer of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
The program is basically a communication campaign to enhance and protect our beneficiaries’ rights especially during elections, explains Indino, who came to the Kapihan sa PIA Thursday.
It hopes to build on the first campaigns while capacitating communities, especially the beneficiaries of the prime government social protection program in the 4Ps of their rights and inform them of their responsibilities, she summarizes.
Indino, said the program pushes for active citizenship training which is inserted in the Family Development Sessions (FDS) as a venue for teaching and interaction among beneficiaries.
The contents: DSWD said are the critical to the campaign is contained in the DSWDs field officers manual on Frequently Encountered Situations, which would guide communities on what to do when there is a perceived deviation of the fair elections and campaign rules.
“Any politician is barred and will not be allowed to insert and enter into the DSWD initiated gathering, like the FDS,” DSWD cited one situation.
The FDS is a perfect venue for politicians to get in so they could campaign, and in that situations, jeopardizes the apolitical nature of the 4Ps.
On situations like this, the DSWD has instructed the 4Ps and those handling the sessions not to allow the insert, although a separate venue might be opened only after the FDS has been through.
“After the sessions, an announcement would be made so people who are interested to listen could stay and observe, but this does not bind anyone to stay and listen, Indino said.
The DSWD must not be used to force people into listening to campaigns, so this must happen only after the FDS has completely ended, that a session can be called again.
According to the manual, FDS session facilitators would make sure that nobody with the intent to campaign is allowed in the gathering and can only do so, after the session has expired.
Moreover, the manual also clearly states that facilitators or FDS groups are not allowed to receive any cash or kind, especially during election season.
DSWD believes receiving of such may be read as a move to bribe and influence the results of the elections.
The DSWD is set to launch the campaign in Bohol next month, DSWD said. The launching would also include other activities which would ensue after the parade from the Plaza Rizal.
On the other hand, DSWD admitted that there have been attempts in the past for politicians to sidle into the sessions to campaign. It did not mention any names however on the culprits.