Feature: Prepaid card for MCCT beneficiaries is a helpful innovation –DSWD

August 11, 2015 5:27 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Aug. 9 (PNA) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has said that the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) prepaid card being issued to the family beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) program will be a big help in easier liquidation of their cash grants.

According to DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman, whenever MCCT beneficiaries withdraw or make a transaction on the prepaid card, either by purchasing through groceries, availing medicines in pharmacies or withdrawing through an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), the transaction is easily recorded and monitored by the LBP.

“Therefore, the liquidation becomes instant… The records are right away monitored by LBP and can be easily delivered to the Commission on Audit and to the Bureau of Treasury," she said.

Soliman said that such feature of the LBP prepaid card system will be very helpful and convenient on the part of the MCCT beneficiaries whose photos are in the card and therefore validation is easier.

"The system is really a very great help also on our part because we can easily liquidate… For the beneficiaries, that will mean they no longer need to wait as they line up in long ATM machines during pay-out,” she added.

She cited that through the system, the beneficiaries have the option to withdraw in any ATM machine of other banks without being charged of any single centavo.

She said that the transaction charge is shouldered by DSWD so that the cash grants can be taken in whole and without any deduction.

“Another feature is that they (MCCT beneficiaries) can use them in the pharmacies, groceries or supermarkets that have debit/credit point of sale (POS) system and accept payments in terms of prepaid cards,” she added.

According to the DSWD chief, 203 MCCT beneficiaries in the National Capital Region (NCR) comprised the initial recipients of the prepaid cards as of Aug. 8, 2015.

Soliman said more than 2,000 MCCT beneficiaries in the NCR are expected to be recipients of similar cards by the end of September, this year.

The same system is also introduced among MCCT beneficiaries consisting of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

The Land Bank of the Philippines is the primary partner of the DSWD in the creation of the prepaid cards system of payment of cash grants to the MCCT beneficiaries as an innovation.

It is also in support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) objective of advancing financial inclusion by facilitating rapid adoption of electronic payment use.

MCCT beneficiaries consist of rescued street families who have been assessed by DSWD since 2013.

Other beneficiaries includes IPs in the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas and those with special needs like those displaced by either natural or man-made disasters.

At present, there are 200,000 households enrolled in MCCT in the entire country. About 2,000 of them are in the NCR.

Under MCCT, the beneficiaries receive monthly cash grant similar to what is given to households assisted under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

They are also given the same set of conditionalities to follow as they receive the cash grants.

Among the conditions are enrollment of the children to alternative learning system (ALS) mode of education of the Department of Education (DepEd), regular consultation and receiving immunization and undergoing deworming in government health centers, mothers having pre- and post- natal care and attendance to family development sessions.

As a “special set of beneficiaries” which the government helps so that they will not continue to slide deeper into poverty, the DSWD pays the rent for a period of six months to one year of the MCCT families who are rescued in the streets.

The paying of rental for the apartment is being done by DSWD as a way to encourage and convince the MCCT beneficiaries that it is better to live in a safe place rather than on the streets that expose them to different harms.

During the six-month period, the DSWD, with the help of local government units (LGUs), other government agencies and civil society organizations, provides training of their skills or livelihood training for the qualified members of the household.

Those who are employable are then linked to employment opportunities so that they can sustain the rental of the apartment.

Those who are able to sustain the rental may also qualify to be included in the ongoing assessment of the poor so that they can also be considered to be included in the CCT beneficiaries.

One reason why the street families were not included as CCT beneficiaries before was that they had no permanent addresses during the assessment done in 2008.

The cash grants the MCCT receive is an investment of the government on the health and education of the children and in ensuring that the poor are not left behind and enjoying the fruits of economic development wherein they can also have the chance to contribute. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ

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