DSWD dismayed over SAP beneficiaries caught gambling

DSWD dismayed over SAP beneficiaries caught gambling

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has expressed dismay after four Social Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiaries were caught gambling in Anilao town, Iloilo province on Thursday.

“It’s really sad. Instead of buying food and needs in the household, they prioritized their vices, (which) we don’t like,” DSWD Assistant Secretary Rhea Peñaflor said in a virtual presser on Friday.

Based on the report of the Anilao Municipal Police, 11 individuals were caught in the act of playing mahjong and the card game “tong-its” in different tables in Dangulaan village in Anilao and were arrested.

The police report said of the 11, four were identified as SAP beneficiaries: Jose Baluran, 54; Isidro Javier, 55; Claudio Matutino, 64; and Jomar Langreo, 54.

They will face sanctions for illegal gambling under Presidential Decree 1602.

“They violated a law because it’s illegal gambling. So they will be the ones to face it,” Peñaflor said.

In the same virtual presser, DSWD 6 (Western Visayas) Director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre, however, noted that no provision in the SAP guidelines has specifics on what to do with beneficiaries who misuse the cash aid.

“If they are qualified for the emergency subsidy, they will still receive the cash grant allocated for them,” Macapobre said.

Qualified SAP beneficiaries in Western Visayas are each entitled to PHP6,000 a month.

Peñaflor said they would wait for guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on how to deal with the arrested gamblers, whether or not they would be included in the second round of SAP distribution.

“We don’t want what they are doing and we will look for ways on what penalty to apply. However, on what they have done, they violated a law and they will be answerable for that,” she said.

Peñaflor said the SAP beneficiaries who were caught gambling do not deserve the cash aid if they use it only for their vices.

“Many have needs but you wasted the money to buy alcohol(ic beverages) or to gamble while your family is hungry. (It is) very irresponsible,” she added. — By Gail Momblan / (PNA)

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