Lumad families complained that soldiers threatened them of being delisted from the government’s 4Ps cash assistance program if they continue sending their children to MISFI Academy and Salugpongan Community Learning Center (STTICLC).
The Save Our Schools Network said this incident happened in Barangay Taytayan, Cateel, Davao Oriental in June 23 committed by two army sergeants named Acmad and Itaw from the 67th Infantry Battalion. “The soldiers reportedly said that anyone who enrolls at Salugpongan School this school year will have their 4Ps cash assistance cut off, or they will be delisted from payment,” said SOS spokesperson Rius Valle.
The 4 Ps or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a government program that shells out monthly allowances for families with children in school with the requirement that children maintain grades in school.
Administators from the STTICLC called on DSWD to investigate the matter as they urged the military to stop meddling in civilian lives and children’s education.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao Command public information officer Captain Albero Caber denied their troops made such statements to parents and children. But Valle said “Their statements are far from what is happening in the ground.” Valle said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region XI also clarified that the agency would delist beneficiaries if they fail to meet requirements or if they voluntarily withdraw from the program.
The officer in charge of the regions 4Ps, Margie Cabido, was quoted by news reports saying only beneficiaries can delist themselves. “There is nothing to fear because even the DSWD cannot arbitrarily delist a beneficiary. It is all up to the beneficiaries whether they comply with the conditions set,” Cabido said.