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DSWD told to settle P278-M service fees for 4Ps

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Audit (COA) has directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to deposit about P278 million with the Land Bank of the Philippines to settle the service fees in the implementation of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program.

In a decision dated April 7 and released to the media yesterday, COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo and commissioners Jose Fabi and Isabel Agito ruled to grant the bank’s 2015 petition for money claim after establishing that the DSWD still has unpaid service fees to CCT conduits in 2013 and even in prior years.

COA said that though there were some discrepancies initially in the amounts of unpaid obligations as compared to the disbursement vouchers, these have already been settled and readjusted after the supervising auditors of DSWD and Land Bank were ordered in December 2015 to jointly conduct a revalidation of the claims.

It further said that the claims were backed with documents submitted by the CCT conduits.

“All told, and considering further that the claim was supported with complete documentation... this Commission grants the LBP’s petition,” the COA said.

It found no irregularity in the different service fees per transaction of CCT conduits as it ruled that, “the service fees charged conformed with the amounts stated in memoranda of agreement between the accredited CCT conduits and LBP.”

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It also did not explain why the service fees of each CCT partners vary. It appeared that Globe G-Cash charged P42 to P75 per payout while M. Lhuiller only charged P24. Philpost charged from P24 to P50, while rural banks (RB) and countryside financial institutions (CFIs) using manual system charged from P25 to P50. The cash cards and over-the-counter (OTC) payouts only amounted to P24 per transaction.

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