Monday, 7 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, January 7, 2013

Malacanang clarifies alleged misuse of DSWD funds

 Malacanang said on Monday that the alleged misuse of Department of Social Welfare and Development funds to bankroll an anti-epal (credit grabber or scene stealer) campaign for the upcoming elections is actually the budget of the Social Marketing Service (SMS) of said agency which spearheads the development of the DSWD’s various programs.

 In a briefing in Malacanang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the SMS leads the DSWD’s advocacy of informing beneficiaries, specifically of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, of their inclusion or exclusion from the program.

 “The amount being mentioned by a senatorial candidate who made that statement is the budget for the entire unit – the Social Marketing Service under the DSWD that has been there and is helping the agency with its various programs,” Valte said.

 She said that through an information campaign, member beneficiaries of the government’s anti-poverty program are made fully aware of their rights to the financial measure.

 “Essentially it is an advocacy of the DSWD to inform the beneficiaries themselves, kasi may nakukuha kaming report na may mga local politicians na nagsasabi (sa mga constituents nila) na pag hindi ka sumama sa akin o hindi (ka) bumoto sa akin ay ipapatanggal ko kayo sa listahan (ng beneficiaries),” Valte said.

 She clarified that the “main reason they are included in a certain program of the agency is because they are qualified beneficiaries determined by the National Household Targeting System(NHTS) and the only reason they may be taken off any program is because they did not comply with the agency’s requirements and not because of any local government officials say so.”

 She lauded the information campaign as “timely” as “what we are trying to safeguard against is (that) the program becomes a tool for patronage politics.”

 “Ayaw natin mangyari 'yun,” Valte said.

 According to the website of the DSWD (, the Social Marketing Service is responsible for undertaking advocacy, social marketing, marketing and networking activities to promote social change and to nurture the Department’s relationships with its publics and stakeholders. SMS shall institutionalize a feedback mechanism to ensure that the development policies and messages embodied in the vision, mission and goal of the Department are effectively communicated. PND (rck)

Malacanang says Aquino government to study proposal for 'total gun ban'
 The Aquino administration will study the proposal for a total gun ban following the death of a seven-year-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet in Caloocan City and the shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite, a Palace official said on Monday.

 Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang amid calls for stricter gun controls and a total gun ban.

 The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said the government should consider the proposal from various groups to ensure the safety of the public.

 "Ang dami pong iba’t ibang proposal between stricter gun control to proposals for a total gun ban. So that has to be discussed with the President," Valte said.

 Senator Gregorio Honasan said on Saturday that his committee on public order and dangerous drugs would review existing gun laws, consolidate related pending bills and conduct public hearings on gun controls when sessions resume on January 21.

 For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson proposed to the government the suspension of all permits to carry in the wake of Ronald Bae's shooting spree.

 "Again, it depends on what the contents of that law will be. When you say comprehensive firearms law, that would involve everything from the importation—rules for importation, rules for procurement, for requirements, etcetera. So we will have to see what is in that proposal for a comprehensive firearms law," Valte said.

 Bae, an alleged drug addict, went on a shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite Friday morning. He attacked his neighbors with a .45-caliber pistol, killing eight people and injuring nine others.

 On the other hand, Stephanie Nicole Ella was watching a fireworks display outside her home in Malaria district, Caloocan City when she was hit by a stray bullet in her head on New Year's Eve. Ella died at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City Wednesday afternoon. PND (js)