Solon questions Taguiwalo on CCT ‘ghost’ beneficiaries
A House of Representatives leader on Thursday questioned Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on the adverse audit findings of unliquidated cash advances and ghost beneficiaries involving the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program even though these covered the term of her predecessor.
During the appropriations hearing of the Department of Social Work and Development’s (DSWD) proposed P129.8 billion budget for 2017, appropriations committee chairman and Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles cited a Commission on Audit (COA) report which showed that as much as P6.39 billion of funds for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) were not liquidated.
The COA report said that some P1.579 billion in CCT funds remained idle in state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines and its conduits during five years of the Aquino administration.
Nograles scored Taguiwalo even though the adverse COA findings covered the term of her predecessor, former secretary Dinky Soliman.
Nograles pointed out that in the report, 79,530 accounts covering P1.1 million did not have any withdrawal activity in a period of from 30 days to as much as 2,190 days.
The report said 79,530 accounts with undrawn balances contained P2,801 to P102,200 each. 386,435 of these accounts have a cumulative unwithdrawn balance of P139.008 million since the accounts were opened.
Nograles questioned the need to grant the DSWD its budget if it also missed hitting the target number of beneficiaries in its poverty alleviation programs.
“Did you see how many have not withdrawn from their Landbank accounts for almost 2,000 days already? That means there’s something wrong. If you have savings like that and carried over in the previous years, then we might as well subtract that from (the budget) you’re asking for. That means we can use the money elsewhere,” Nograles said.
Taguiwalo said she is looking into the unliquidated balances she inherited from the previous administration.
She added that it is the Landbank that failed to release the funds to the beneficiaries and not the DSWD.
“It’s by Landbank, not by us. It’s not the DSWD that’s handling the money. The Department of Finance transfers the money to the Landbank which disburses the money to the beneficiaries,” Taguiwalo said.
“We’re having meetings with Landbank to find out. It is an ongoing investigation for us. We are very much aware of the need to tighten the inclusion, exclusion of the 4Ps. But that amount, as far as we understand, is supposed to go to the beneficiaries,” she added.
The CCT or 4Ps is a dole-out program of providing cash grants to indigent households provided they comply with the conditions of improving the children’s health condition and sending them to school. JE/rga
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