Minors, dead, Filipinos abroad in cash aid list
A lawmaker on Friday said his office had received reports that “questionable” individuals—minors, dead persons and Filipinos based in other countries—were included in the list of beneficiaries in the P22.9-billion cash aid for low-income families in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.
In a statement, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Rep. Jericho Nograles urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Commission on Audit to investigate the matter.
Nograles cited the case of a person who has been dead since August 2020, minors and a former house helper who used to reside in Pasay City as among those listed as cash aid recipients.In Cainta, Rizal, a person who lives and works in Qatar was also listed as a recipient.
He said such questionable inclusions indicate that thousands more unqualified beneficiaries were on the DSWD’s social amelioration list.
“It is easy to suspect and surmise, but it is the duty of the government to find out why and how did this happen,” Nograles said.
“The list should be carefully looked into. I hope the DSWD can defend the listing because technical malversation and malversation of public funds is a serious crime that must be reported,” he said.
Only 31% distributed
Only 31 percent of financial assistance, or P3.4 billion, has so far been distributed by the government to low-income earners in Metro Manila more than a week after the funds were handed down to local officials, Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson for the DILG, said.
The cash aid was intended for 22.9 million beneficiaries in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, which were placed under enhanced community quarantine for two weeks due to surging COVID-19 cases in these areas.
“The pace of the distribution has picked up, and [local governments] are not stopping in giving out the aid from the national government,” he said at an online briefing.
Local governments have been given 15 days to complete the distribution.
Deadline extension sought
But Muntinlupa, Valenzuela and Quezon cities, as well as several local governments in Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite, have requested for an extension of the deadline to give out the aid, Malaya said.
He said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who had returned to work after taking a break following his COVID-19 infections, would decide on how many days would be given to the local governments to complete the distribution.
One of the possible reasons granting an extension is if the employees of the local governments had been infected with coronavirus and this delayed the distribution of the assistance. Another is the huge population of the local government, as is the case with Quezon City and Manila, he said.
Malaya said the DILG would coordinate with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission to get its data after its chair Greco Belgica said his office had received 8,000 complaints in relation to the government aid. INQ
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