DSWD ready to face probe, clarify Pacquiao’s corruption claims
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has assured the public that it is willing to face any investigation on the disbursement of subsidies under the social amelioration program (SAP) after Senator Manny Pacquiao made claims of corruption.
DSWD spokesperson and Director Irene Dumlao on Saturday said the department’s officials have already attended several congressional hearings regarding the issue — proving that the agency will cooperate with any probe.
Pacquiao earlier claimed that there was corruption in the use of an e-wallet application used by the DSWD to handle the SAP distribution. Pacquiao said some unclaimed benefits were already labeled as received.
“DSWD is willing to face any investigating body and present the necessary evidence/ documents to clarify those raised by the good Senator,” Dumlao told reporters.
“In fact, the agency has attended several congressional hearings relative to the SAP implementation,” she added.
In a briefing Saturday, Pacquiao said the DSWD made use of the mobile wallet Starpay to distribute SAP payouts to 1.8 million beneficiaries, mostly families whose sources of income were affected by the strict lockdowns to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Pacquiao, only 500,000 of the 1.8 million beneficiaries received the payout, with P10.4 billion now “missing.”
“Batay sa aking imbestigasyon Mr. President, lumalabas sa initial po na disbursement sa Starpay account para sa 1.8 million beneficiaries na katumbas ay P14 billion. Kung tutuusin maganda po ang layunin ng paggamit ng e-wallet para sa distribution ng SAP, maiiwasan kasi ang kalakaran na ang pera ay mauuwi sa bulsa ng mga kawatan,” Pacquiao said.
“Bakit sa 1.8 million na binigyan ng SAP mula sa Starpay, 500,000 lamang po na katao ang na-download nito. Sa mga hindi po nakaka-alam, hindi ka pwedeng mag-receive or mag-withdraw kung wala kang nada-download na Starpay app. Ang tanong ko po, anong nangyari sa 1.3 million katao na hindi naka-download ng Starpay app pero sa record po, nakatanggap na po sila,” he added.
Aside from the DSWD, Pacquiao mentioned that other government agencies in the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Energy (DOE) are also involved in alleged corruption. Pacquiao also showed documents that according to him will be used to prove his claims of corruption.
Pacquiao’s presentation comes after he and President Rodrigo Duterte traded barbs over claims that the government is riddled by corruption. Duterte said he would campaign against Pacquiao if he could not name the agencies involved and provide evidence.
Pacquiao accepted the President’s challenge, saying that the government can start with the Department of Health (DOH) and its COVID-19 pandemic response.
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