Davao del Sur, Philippines (June 13, 2024) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office XI has taken measures against barangay officials of Sinawilan, Matanao, Davao del Sur, today, June 13, 2024, by filing appropriate charges at the Office of the Ombudsman in Davao Region following allegations of reducing cash assistance meant for a pregnant beneficiary.

The incident came to light when a pregnant beneficiary posted a video on Facebook that went viral on June 8, 2024. She stated that the PHP10,000 she received from a DSWD payout on June 6, 2024, was allegedly reduced to PHP1,500 by local barangay officials. 

She reported that after receiving government assistance in the form of a cash grant at Tablizo Gym, Brgy. Matti, Digos City, was instructed to remit the money to the Barangay Hall of Sinawilan.

After verifying the video’s authenticity, DSWD Field Office XI reached out to the beneficiary through the field staff in Davao del Sur Provincial Operations Office (POO). The beneficiary confirmed her claims and agreed to cooperate in filing charges against the barangay officials.

Following a directive from DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, DSWD Field Office XI, initiated the legal process against the barangay officials. 

On June 10, 2024, Atty. Goc-ong accompanied the beneficiary to the Matanao Police Station to file a police blotter for her safety. The beneficiary refused the barangay officials’ offer to return the deducted amount, thus, DSWD Field Office XI provided her with PHP8,500 to cover the loss and an additional PHP10,000 for her prenatal checkup and medicines.

DSWD Field Office XI filed criminal and administrative charges against the Barangay Captain and Barangay Kagawad involved in the case along with other barangay officials. 

Atty. Goc-ong applauds the beneficiary’s braveness and encourages all beneficiaries who are victims of the same injustice to reach out to the Department to report. 

“She (the beneficiary) serves as a role model to all of us for her courage in standing up against the injustices committed by her community leaders. We should follow her example for the betterment of our society. Therefore, I encourage all beneficiaries who have had similar experiences to come forward and reach out to us. Whether you choose to report anonymously or openly, we assure you that we will support you throughout this process,” said Atty. Goc-ong in a statement to local media after filing the charges. (DSWD FO XI/EMCJr)