April 9, 2010
Katribu Partylist slams today government’s “Pantawid” program in rural barangays and plans to file electioneering charges against local government units to the Commission on Election.
Jomorito Goaynon, Katribu regional coordinator for Northern Mindanao, said rural barangays in the region the past months are in full-swing in giving “dole-outs” amounting to at least P1,400 each family allegedly to help them make ends meet.
“Ubay-ubay na gyud nga mga kaigsoonan nato sa lumad o bisan dili lumad nga anaa sa mga kabukiran ang niingon nga mobuto na sila sa mga kandidato sa gobyerno tungod kay nakadawat sila og kwarta,”* the Higaonon tribe leader said.
For every family, a parent receives P500 and three hundred pesos each for three children excluding a fourth or fifth child. At an average if both parents are alive, the family of six receives P1,900 every month.
In Talakag, Bukidnon chapter members of Katribu Partylist reported to the group that they have received the money religiously since the election period started. Katribu already received reports in other local chapters in Misamis Oriental and even neighboring provinces in Agusan del Norte of residents receiving the monthly allotment.
The “Pantawid” program is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s response to the growing poverty incidence in the country and went full-swing in the late part of 2008.
Goaynon said what is dubious about this program is that it started to be implemented promptly
since the election period started this year. In some parts of Misamis Oriental, particularly in militarized areas where indigenous peoples are populated, the Pantawid stopped in 2009.
But Goaynon said this resurrected again sometime February and March this year when administration candidates showed poor standing in poll surveys. Only last month, Arroyo declared Mindanao under a state of calamity and Goaynon said it is highly possible that the calamity fund are the ones used to fund the Pantawid program.
The Lumad leader said they intend to file electioneering charges to the Comelec since there are clear indications of violations on election rules particularly against government agencies using local funds to generate sympathy and votes in favor of government-backed candidates.
“Continuing to implement or offer money to people in this time of election is already immoral and distasteful. It doesn’t give justice to other candidates who do not have the money and machinery like what the government have,” Goaynon disclosed.