COA finds business, land owners in CCT | Inquirer News

COA finds business, land owners in CCT

/ 02:04 AM December 31, 2011

Just who were the people who received cash allowances from the government in 2010 but were not among the poorest of the poor?

According to the Commission on Audit (COA), some of the beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in 2010 included people who owned hectares of land, cars, a six-door apartment, an Internet shop and a grains trading business—not exactly destitute folks in desperate need of the up to P1,400 a month in assistance the government provides them.

Other beneficiaries were local government employees and public school teachers who earned regular salaries. There were also those who were into illegal gambling and other vices.


Loopholes plugged


The COA had exposed the deficiencies of the CCT program in an earlier report on the use of official development assistance (ODA) funds. But the COA’s 2010 audit report on the Department of Social Welfare and Development, released on Wednesday, provided additional details on the program’s implementation.

The DSWD earlier said it had plugged the loopholes in the CCT program and put in place strategies to improve its implementation and the selection and delisting of beneficiaries.

The previous Arroyo administration oversaw the CCT project in the first part of 2010, after which the Aquino administration took over.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman had said her department had put stronger mechanisms in place for the smooth implementation of the program, whose budget was increased to P21 billion in 2011.

Most appropriate test


Soliman said the poorest households were selected using the National Household Targeting System which utilizes the proxy means test that is the most appropriate targeting mechanism for developing countries.

She said there was also a grievance redress system to look into the inclusion of people not qualified to be in the program. Under the system, people could complain about beneficiaries who were not impoverished. Reassessment and validation surveys were also conducted, she said.

Other income sources

A total of 171,947 households have been delisted from the CCT program as of November 2011. The DSWD is also continuously reviewing and improving policies and systems, Soliman said.

The COA, in its 2010 report, said it visited some beneficiaries in 2010 and found that 96 out of 1,400 sampled households had other sources of income but were nevertheless enrolled in the cash program.

It noted that the program did not disqualify poor people who were already receiving government assistance, but it said that there were other poor people who did not receive anything but should have been considered for the program.

Reprisal from beneficiaries

It said the grievance redress system may be unable to address issues such as the improper use of the cash assistance because those who may want to expose such activities may fear reprisal from beneficiaries.

The COA said the DSWD should explain the inclusion of beneficiaries who were not extremely poor, and delist those who were into gambling and illegal activities.

Inclusion error

The DSWD, in response, told the audit agency the inclusion of beneficiaries who were not extremely poor was an example of “inclusion error,” and such errors were addressed through various strategies, including the use of the household assessment form to check for false information.

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It also said that if a beneficiary’s income was above the poverty threshold, that person was delisted.

TAGS: CCT Program

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