The New People’s Army (NPA) got funding from the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the government under the watch of former Social Welfare and Development secretary Judy Taguiwalo, President Rodrigo Duterte bared on Tuesday.
The President made the revelation during oath-taking rites for new appointees in Malacañang.
“The NPA got money from the Pantawid [Pamilya Pilipino Program] (conditional cash transfer). They used it to buy bullets, guns. If they used it to buy something to eat, I would not mind. But if you used it for guns, that’s your problem,” Duterte said.
Taguiwalo denied this on Tuesday and said CCTs, also known as 4Ps, were coursed through a state-run bank and its conduits and directly paid to the beneficiaries.
“For the record and for the President’s own awareness, not a single peso of the 4Ps program passed through my hands. The program funds are directly coursed through the Landbank and its conduits who then make direct payout to the Pantawid beneficiaries. These transactions are recorded and COA (Commission on Audit) regularly audits this program,” Taguiwalo said in a statement.
Under the CCT program, cash is distributed to the poorest households in exchange for sending kids to school 85 percent of the time, subjecting children to de-worming sessions, attending family development seminars, and health checkups for pregnant women.
“If you use the [government]money to buy guns and the military kills you for it, then that’s your problem. I have to defend my oath of office,” Duterte said.
Earlier in the day, Palace Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the Palace had yet to verify an intelligence report alleging that the CCT fund of the Department of Social Welfare and Development was given to the NPA.
The intelligence report supposedly reached President Duterte before the Commission on Appointments (CA) rejected Taguiwalo’s nomination.
At least 13 lawmakers or majority of the 25-strong commission voted to reject Taguiwalo’s nomination, the third under Duterte.
Prior to her DSWD stint, Taguiwalo served as a professor of women and development studies at the University of the Philippines in Diliman from 1992 to 2015 and was national vice chairman of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), head of the women’s committee of ACT Philippines and faculty regent of the UP Board of Regents from 2009 to 2010.
A political prisoner during Martial Law, Taguiwalo spent over three years in various prisons for resisting the Marcos regime.
Taguiwalo requested a meeting with Duterte ahead of her last confirmation hearing before the CA panel that eventually rejected her.
Taguiwalo’s last-minute request for time with the President, however, was declined by the Chief Executive.
Abella could not say why the President did not give Taguiwalo an audience.
“We don’t have the exact reason why,” Abella said.
WITH REINA C. TOLENTINO