In a significant stride towards ensuring the responsible use of funds allocated for social assistance programs, Masbate tops the charts in the Bicol Region, with an unprecedented number of ordinances on the Anti-Cash Card Pawning Ordinance under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

11  municipalities in the province of Masbate, demonstrate a robust commitment to the cause and have enacted and implemented the Anti-Cash Card Pawning Ordinance in the towns of Esperanza, Dimasalang, Cawayan, Cataingan, Palanas, Balud, Aroroy, Placer, Milagros, Uson, and Monreal.

The Anti-Cash Card Pawning Ordinance is designed to prevent the misuse or exploitation of cash cards provided to beneficiaries under the 4Ps program. These cash cards are intended to assist vulnerable families in meeting their basic needs, and the ordinance acts as a protective measure to ensure the funds are used for their intended purposes. Moreover, these ordinances were purposely created to penalize and sanction loan sharks, lenders, and government officials who would violate the law.

The provisions based on National Advisory Committee (NAC) Resolution No. 20 of 4Ps, “Procedural guidelines in handling misdemeanor cases of beneficiaries,” were also reiterated in the ordinances to warn the beneficiaries of the sanctions should they continue to pawn their cards. Violation of these will result in:

  1. First Offense – Counselling by the City/Municipal Link with a written warning from the head of the Provincial Operations Office
  2. Second Offense – Counselling by the Provincial Link (Social Welfare Officer III) with a written warning from the Regional Director; Household grants shall be suspended/not released for one (1) payment period or two months.
  3. Third Offense – Delisting of the concerned households under Grievance Redress System (GRS) Fraud duly addressed by the Regional Director and tagging shall be facilitated by the Regional Grievance Officers; Household’s delisted status is non-appealable.

This proactive approach taken by Masbate’s PLGUs, serves as an inspiration for other provinces  to adopt similar measures in the pursuit of transparent and accountable governance.

The collaborative lobbying efforts of the PLGU and DSWD Bicol also emphasize the importance of cooperation between the regional program management and local governments in addressing issues that impact the effectiveness of social welfare programs.

As the province of Masbate takes the lead in implementing these protective ordinances, the hope is that other provinces will follow suit, creating a ripple effect of responsible governance and ensuring the sustained impact of social assistance programs in uplifting the lives of those who need it most.