AN ELECTION Watchdog on Saturday warned the public of party-list groups bearing identical names with government programs.
In a statement on Saturday, Kontra Daya pointed out in its fact-checking initiative that Pagtibayin at Palaguin ang Pangkabuhayang Pilipino (4Ps) party-list group had a similar logo and acronym with the government’s conditional cash transfer program known as 4Ps.
“It is wrong for a party-list group to claim that the use of 4Ps acronym is similar to other party-list groups that use familiar acronyms like BHW (barangay health worker) and OFW (overseas Filipino worker),” it said.
The election watchdog noted that the general shape and texture of the party-list group’s logo are identical to an institutionalized poverty-reduction strategy of the government.
Kontra Daya rated as “false” the claim that the 4Ps party-list group’s acronym cannot be confused with the DSWD’s 4Ps program.”
The government’s 4Ps — or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program — was launched as a provisional poverty-reduction scheme in 2008.
It was institutionalized in 2019 with the passage of Republic Act No. 11310 or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Act.
Under the law, the government aims to provide adequate social services, provide full employment, and improve the quality of life of the marginalized sector.
The Department of Budget and Management earlier said the government will spend P115.7 billion for the social assistance program this year.
Kontra Daya said it was not surprising that the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the 4Ps implementing agency, has “denounced the use of the 4Ps acronym by the party-list group and has called for the cancellation of the latter’s Securities and Exchange Commission registration.”
Last month, the poll watchdog also conducted a study that said about seven out of 10 party-list groups in this year’s elections have been hijacked by big businesses and political clans.
These parties represented vague advocacies, are connected to the government or military, included incumbent local officials and had candidates who have been charged in court, it said. Under the Party-List System Act, elected officials from these groups must belong to “marginalized and underrepresented sectors.”
Party-list nominees account for a fifth of the House of Representatives.
Political analysts earlier called for the Comelec to review the party-list system.
“Domination by political dynasties of the partly-list system is another evidence of the rottenness of our political system,” said Michael Henry LI. Yusingco last month, a senior research fellow at the Ateneo de Manila University Policy Center.
“I understand that the Comelec is limited by the guidelines set forth by the party-list law and prevailing jurisprudence, but they cannot ignore the fact that the constitutional purpose of the party-list system is no longer being met,” he said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez