Probe pilferage of DSWD aid, senator urges | Inquirer News

Probe pilferage of DSWD aid, senator urges

/ 05:50 AM November 17, 2023

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III —Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III on Thursday urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct a deeper investigation into reports of pilferage by unscrupulous individuals of its cash aid programs for poor students.

During Pimentel’s interpellation on the proposed DSWD budget for 2024, Sen. Imee Marcos, who was defending the agency’s spending measure, confirmed complaints that recipients were getting a measly 10-percent of their supposed educational assistance of a maximum of P10,000.


“[The DSWD is] quite familiar with these documented 64 individuals who were robbed of their ‘ayuda’ (cash aid) and this happened in Davao de Oro and the money was released during a period that was supposedly covered by the election ban a few days before the [Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections or BSKE],” Marcos said.


Pimentel raised the issue as Marcos presented the proposed P244.4 billion budget of the DSWD in the Senate committee report, which is lower by P714.2 million from House Bill No. 8980, or the General Appropriations Bill approved by the House of Representatives.

The minority leader said senators have expressed concern over complaints of pilfering of cash aid, mainly in Davao Del Norte and Davao De Oro provinces, which was derisively labeled as “ayuda scam.”

Marcos initially confirmed such complaints, as she also expressed suspicion that the distribution of cash aid was released during the supposed ban on cash dole outs due to the BSKE.

She would later clarify that all cash aid distribution activities are exempted from the election ban against dole outs.

According to Marcos, the provincial governments already submitted to the DSWD some interviews and other testimonies that they really received only one-tenth or less of what is expected.Pimentel asked the DSWD to pursue its investigation and submit to the Senate its findings.


Marcos did not give the proposed funding for the educational grants, saying this was lumped with other DSWD programs under “protective services.”


Sen. Ronald dela Rosa also asked the DSWD to undertake measures to prevent a repeat of the supposed pilferage of cash aid given to poor members of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI), a religious organization based in Surigao Del Norte.

He was referring to the findings of the joint investigation conducted by his committee on public order and dangerous drugs and the committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality that SBSI members were being required to give half of what they receive from the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

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“You can ask the assistance of the local [Philippine National Police] to make sure that the money received by the recipients will not go to the pockets of other people,” he said.

TAGS: aid, DSWD, Koko Pimentel, Pilferage

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