Albano: House reps present for aid distribution oversight only

Albano: Solons can attend aid distribution event for oversight duty only

/ 10:30 AM February 20, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Antonio Albano has agreed with former senator Panfilo Lacson about lawmakers not having the role of distributing social and financial aid to needy communities but defended the presence of House members during these activities.

Albano explained that lawmakers only fulfill their oversight mandate when they join the executive branch in distributing assistance to target beneficiaries.


“He (Lacson) is correct that lawmakers and senators are not… let me rephrase because I think I know what he’s saying… lawmakers are only taking part in aid distribution because of our oversight powers,” Albano told reporters during the press briefing on Monday.


“We in Congress, our role is […] to provide the budget and the money for all three branches of government,” he added.

Albano made the statement in response to Lacson’s observations that members of Congress are now partaking in the implementation of programs — particularly the Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) and other Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) programs — which is not only improper but may be considered illegal.

“It’s not only that it is not the obligation of congressmen to distribute TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers), AICS (Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation) and other aid, that is illegal and prohibited. Because the role of Congress in the budget process is budget authorization, legislation, not implementation,” Lacson said in an interview with DWPM, transcripts of which were uploaded on his website.

“It’s the agency that should distribute, for example, the AKAP, TUPAD is under the budget of the DSWD, the DSWD should distribute it, the agency […] Each has its own role. Then why would lawmakers and senators intrude in the implementation of the budget when their role is finished? Congress could just enter the scene again in the oversight,” he added.

READ: DSWD’s AKAP to help workers, not linked to Cha-cha, says solon 

However, according to Albano, the DSWD and the implementing agencies are tasked to roll out the projects, but lawmakers are there to ensure proper implementation.


“Now, if there is no DSWD or if congressmen and senators are not there, or not even the local mayor, what would happen? Lawmakers are not allowed to implement the program. But if DSWD is there and the lawmakers are present to monitor […] there is nothing wrong with it since the bill creating the AKAP came from us. The budgeting came from us, so it is our responsibility as legislators to check if AKAP is delivered to the people,” he noted.

Questions about AKAP were raised by Senator Imee Marcos, who said in a Senate hearing last Tuesday that the program was unknown to senators — especially her since she sponsored the 2024 budget of the DSWD when it was still being deliberated.

Marcos also speculated that the AKAP funds were used to entice people into signing in favor of the People’s Initiative (PI) campaign to amend the Constitution, which some senators believe was being orchestrated by House leaders.

Several House officials have already called out Senator Marcos for her claims, with Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co saying that the Senator is dirtying the pure intentions of AKAP.

Co announced the new program last December after the bicameral conference committee approved the final version of the budget.

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READ: Workers earning no more than P23,000 monthly to get P5,000 aid – House 

TAGS: AKAP, Antonio Albano, Panfilo Lacson

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