Smart, coops disburse conditional cash grants-A A +A
Friday, February 21, 2014
SMART Communications, Inc. (Smart) through its mobile financial services subsidiary Smart e-Money, Inc. (SMI) has disbursed the conditional cash grants of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to close to 6,000 subsidiaries in Leyte and Samar in a pilot payout held early this month.
The cash grants were distributed to beneficiaries of the DSWD's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Families under the CCT program that have complied with DSWD's requirements receive P500 in health assistance and P300 in educational aid for every child (maximum of three children per family) enrolled in school, and has passed the required attendance threshold of at least 85 percent in school.
The Pantawid is a long-term social development strategy of the Philippine government that invests in the health and education of children from poor households, particularly those aged 0-14 years old.
SMI did a pilot payout caravan from February 4 to 7 in the towns of Caibiran in Biliran, San Ricardo in Southern Leyte, Lavezares in Northern Samar, and Dolores in Eastern Samar covering close to 6,000 CCT beneficiaries eligible to receive cash grants.
The pilot payout is part of the requirements set by the DSWD prior to actual award of the project to SMI, which tendered the best offer in the recent bidding conducted by the government agency.
"This is the first time that we have participated in this program. We are honored to be the government's strategic partner in making sure that funds are distributed securely and conveniently to CCT beneficiaries.
At the same time, we want to help complement other government programs aimed at intensifying financial inclusion through innovative technology," said Orlando Vea, SMI president and CEO and Smart chief wireless advisor.
"The successful conduct of the pilot payout will help build public trust on Smart e-Money's capability to disburse cash grants to DSWD beneficiaries. We were told that it was the quickest cash grant disbursement thus far where over 2,800 beneficiaries on February 7 in Dolores, Eastern Samar were processed in about four hours. Actual account reconciliation and reporting were done also on the same day with DSWD regional officials," added Lito Villanueva, SMI head for innovation, ecosystem build and global engagements.
SMI worked with member-cooperatives of the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATTCO), its on-ground payment partner for this project.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 22, 2014.