COA flags DOLE for poor COVID-19 fund control | Inquirer News
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COA flags DOLE for poor COVID-19 fund control

/ 05:32 AM August 15, 2021
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DOLE main office.

MANILA, Philippines — “Insufficient internal control measures” in granting aid to workers affected by the pandemic have led to excessive payments, denied claims, and unclaimed cash aid in money remittance centers.

These were among the issues raised in the 2020 report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

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The COA looked into the Dole’s COVID-19 programs under Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, such as the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (Camp), Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers #Barangay ko, Bahay ko (Tupad #BKBK), and Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong (Akap).

Camp and Akap involved the grant of P5,000 and P10,000 financial assistance to affected workers and displaced overseas Filipino workers, respectively. On the other hand, Tupad #BKBK provided a 10-day emergency employment for displaced workers.

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The Dole utilized P7.267 billion of its P7.310-billion allotment for the three aid programs, but state auditors observed several deficiencies, such as P1.023 million in multiple payments of cash aid.

The excessive payments were given to 213 Camp, Akap and Tupad #BKBK beneficiaries in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 8 and 9, and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in South Korea.

“The above excessive payments to the beneficiaries were mainly due to the lack of control measures in the processing of claims,” the COA said.

It added: “The noted deficiencies could have been avoided had there been an available master list or database of beneficiaries with data of prior availments that can be accessed by the offices concerned and/or other control measures that could prevent such occurrence.”

Lesser amount received

The audit body tried to confirm with 18,107 beneficiaries their receipt of the aid, but only 4,767 responded. Of this, 221 beneficiaries denied receiving the financial aid, totaling P1.824 million, that was supposedly extended to them.

Five beneficiaries claimed to have received less than the reported amount of aid, while a beneficiary from a security agency claimed that the P5,000 Camp aid he received was later deducted from his salary.

Also, P22.432 million in unclaimed financial assistance with P83,190 in service fees were still in the possession of money remittance centers engaged by the Dole regional offices in Regions 1, 2, 4A, 4B, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 13.

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“Most of the regional offices did not include the provision whereby the money remittance centers have the obligation to remit the amount that remained unclaimed for a certain period, while CAR, regional offices 5 and 13 do not have existing memorandum of agreement with their respective money remittance centers,” the COA said.

There were also instances of incomplete documents for disbursement vouchers, liquidation reports and fund transfers to local governments for cash aid under the three programs.

In addition, P50.836 million in fund transfers to local governments in Regions 4B, 6, 8 and 10 for the Tupad #BKBK remain unliquidated as of 2020.

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