Exec: Makati losing P367M a year due to ‘ghost’ beneficiaries
More than P300 million intended for senior citizens in Makati City has been missing annually as some of the beneficiaries, who turned out to be dead for two years, are still receiving benefits, a resource person told a Senate hearing on Thursday.
Testifying at the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee, Arthur Cruto, the head of the Makati City Action Center, said they conducted an initial audit in two smallest villages in Makati — Barangay Kasilawan and Barangay Pinagkaisahan —and found out that 40 to 50 percent of the listed seniors citizens could not be located and were not in the voters’ list of the Commission on Elections.
Cruto said their initial findings showed that in Baranagay Kasilawan, only 660 of the 1,095 listed senior citizens or BLU card holders were located, while 439 out of 938 card holders were located in Barangay Pinagkaisahan.
He said they also found out that 25 senior citizens were supposedly residing in one house located at 1526 A Mendoza Street.
But based on the actual survey, Cruto said: “Hindi po nila nakita ‘yung (They did not see) 22 out of the 25.”
Their initial findings, he said, showed that there were some beneficiaries who died in 2013 but were still receiving cash gifts from the city government.
“Nakakalungkot po, may pumirma pa at sa pangalan po talaga. Nakakalungkot at nakakagulat bakit ‘yung mga yumao e nagkakaroon pa po ng o nakakatanggap pa after two years na sila’y yumao na,” Cruto said.
(It’s saddening that there are those who signed on the names. It’s saddening and shocking why there are beneficiaries who continue to receive benefits two years after their death.)
Cruto said that based on June 2010 records, the city supposedly has a total of 68,000 senior citizens, who have annually been receiving benefits of P11,750 — Cash gift of P3,000, birthday cake P300; special groceries for Christmas P1,500; 1,500 free maintenance medicines every month; and an average P350 for free movies.
A report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted a report from the action center which estimated the cost of free medicines at P6,600.
But their initial findings showed that only 36,720 or 54 percent of 68,000 listed senior citizens were qualified recipients of the Senior Citizens Benefit Program and the remaining 31,280 or 46 percent were “suspicious.”
If a senior citizen has been receiving P11,750 a year, then Cruto said the Makati government should be spending P799 million a year for 68,000 listed senior citizens.
But since 31,280 of the 68,000 senior citizens were “suspicious,” then the amount missing every year was P367.5 million, Cruto said.
“Ito po ang nawawala kada taon sa likod ng senior citizens BLU card program (This is the amount lost every year in the guise of the senior citizens BLU card program),” he said. Maila Ager/IDL