Philippines launches biometric system to authenticate cash grant beneficiaries
Philippines region Eastern Visayas implemented the use of biometrics to authenticate beneficiaries of the government’s cash grant program over the weekend.
In an article in Sun Star Tacloban, Corazon “Dinky” Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that the biometrics system that is being administered in this town will prevent any unnecessary arrangements made by the cash grant beneficiaries.
“After the implementation in Leyte, the biometrics technology will also be used in the province of Maguindanao, where there is high prevalence of fraud in claiming the amount intended for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries,” Soliman stated.
According to a field assessment conducted by the DSWD, some beneficiaries have entrusted their ATM cards to loan sharks as collateral for their loans, thus enabling the loan sharks to withdraw the cash grants. With the newly implemented biometric system, ATM cards that were previously given to beneficiaries will no longer be of any use. To receive the government’s cash grants, beneficiaries will be required to claim the money personally.
“This will save money on the beneficiaries since they will no longer go to the cities where there are banks to withdraw money. This will also save on the part of the government since the government will no longer have to pay the banks for the distribution of cash cards,” Soliman added.
Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla believes the biometrics system will serve as an effective tool to avoid cash grant scams.
“What is good with this project is that one of its programmers, a trainee of ICOT-P is himself a 4Ps beneficiary,” Petilla said.
The biometrics system launched last Saturday has enabled the cash grants of about 807 household beneficiaries from 18 villages of Matag-ob, Leyte. As of August this year, around 91% of the villages (259,104 household beneficiaries) from the region have been covered by the 4Ps program.
The 4Ps, also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, was launched under President Aquino’s administration. It is a five-year human development program that aims to mitigate poverty problems of the country by giving cash grants to poor households.
Will the government’s utilization of biometrics technology alleviate the money scam problems of the cash grant program?