Pacquiao now wants ‘questionable’ P10.4B fund for SAP probed
MANILA, Philippines — After claiming that corruption persists even under Duterte’s watch, Senator Manny Pacquiao now wants an investigation on the P10.4 billion fund for the national government’s social amelioration program (SAP).
Pacquiao filed on Thursday Senate Resolution No. 779, seeking a formal probe on the SAP fund, zeroing in on what he said was the “questionable” disbursement of the cash aid.
Under the resolution, Pacquiao noted the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) contract with Electronic Money Issuer (EMI) and remittance agent Starpay. DSWD is the lead agency in the government’s SAP while Starpay served as a conduit in the distribution of SAP funds to qualified beneficiaries of financial assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing records, Pacquiao said that of the 1.8 million SAP beneficiaries, only 500,000 were able to download the Starpay application, which was a requirement to recipients so they would be able to receive and withdraw the cash aid.
“This means around 1.3 million projected beneficiaries were unable to download the said e-wallet application and therefore could not have electronically received through Starpay the subsidy amounting to Php 10.4 billion earmarked for them,” the world boxing champion-turned-legislator said in the resolution.
“However, records from the DSWD show that all of these payouts have already been completed,” he added.
Pacquiao pointed out that “there is an urgent need to look into this anomaly to untangle the web of corruption involving DSWD and Starpay which has robbed our people of economic resources and denuded the government of its basic capacity to provide a lifeline to the vulnerable segment of the society that has been hit the hardest by the current pandemic.”
Before flying to the United States to prepare for his upcoming boxing match with Errol Spence, Pacquiao said the cash aid distribution was marred by corruption.
He also alleged corruption in several other government agencies such as the Department of Health and the Department of Energy.
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