Photo Courtesy of the Department of Social Welfare and Development

A member of the provincial board has filed an ordinance seeking to penalize Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) partner-beneficiaries who will pawn or use their cash cards as loan collateral.

Provincial board member Ferdinand Zaballa, ordinance author, said Tuesday in an interview with Palawan News that the use of the cash cards as pawning security in lending companies is an unethical behavior and a malpractice that should not be tolerated.

He said the scheme must be stopped in Palawan because it is defeating the purpose of the conditional cash transfer program to eradicate poverty.

Zaballa cited reports claiming that many 4Ps beneficiaries in Palawan are using their cash cards as assurance to take up loans from lending institutions or individual lenders who impose high interests.

”I am introducing the ordinance para ipagbawal ang pagsangla ng cash cards ng mga 4Ps beneficiaries. Parang nade-defeat na kasi ang purpose ng programa kung saan ay education and health naman talaga,” Zaballa said.

He notes that a 4Ps benediciary who borrows P1,000 at P5 per thousand per day will pay around 15 percent interest monthly.

”Ang makukuha ng beneficiary ay P850 nalang because 15 percent will go to the interest ng mga lending company and ‘yong mga fly by night na hindi naman talaga mga legitimate na lending institutions,” he said.

He said most of the companies are imposing 15 percent interest per month which is very high.

He said that this practice is rampant in the province based on the research they have conducted.

“It is already a rampant problem happening in the province not only in the municipality of Narra, Roxas and El Nido but the whole province is experiencing this “pautang scheme” using the cash cards as a collateral for loans,” he said.

Zaballa said that per their verification, the lowest a 4Ps beneficiary is borrowing is P2,000 and the highest is P6,000.

Zaballa said the delay in the transfer of cash grants is one of the possible reasons why they engage in the practice. However, this kind of loan is also pawning which is illegal for unauthorized or unlicensed companies.

He added that they have already identified the lending institutions but refused to disclose their names.

“Ang mga nagpapautang naman ay pinipilit na nila na umutang ang mga beneficiaries kasi siguradong babayaran sila because ang gobyerno ay siguradong may pera na ibibigay. Baka ang reason din ng pangungutang ay ang delay ng cash grant, ‘yon din ay isa sa mga aalamin natin through this ordinance. We already conducted a research [kung sino ang mga lending companies] but hindi muna siguro natin papangalanan,” he said.

The proposed ordinance has been referred to the committee on social services for further discussion.

He said the lending institutions will also be invited to explain their sides.

“I don’t think na magpapautang ang lending institution ng wala kang collateral, kaya dito ay iimbitahan natin ang mga focal persons ng mga concerned agencies. Wala pa tayong nabubuo na penalty kaya in-open din natin sa body para malaman ang mga possible solutions na puwede dito,” Zaballa added.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.