‘Aid beneficiaries included dead persons, minors, OFWs’

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - April 17, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An administration congressman yesterday criticized the implementation of the latest cash aid or ayuda for low-income families in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces that were affected by the recent lockdown.

Rep. Jericho Nograles of Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list revealed that several dead individuals, minors and overseas Filipino workers were among the beneficiaries listed in the government’s cash dole out of P1,000 per individual or P4,000 per family.

“My office received inquiries and reports on questionable beneficiaries. This comes as no surprise, but clearly, the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and the COA (Commission on Audit) should look into this,” the assistant majority leader bared in a statement.

Nograles cited Barangay 44 in Pasay City where persons who have been dead since August last year, minors who are not qualified as beneficiaries and a former house helper now living in Mindanao were among those listed as cash aid recipients.

“In that barangay in Pasay City for example, some people were surprisingly included in the new list, despite the fact that they are minors. We all know minors should not be in the list. In that same barangay, a kasambahay (house helper) who had already left for Mindanao was still listed and, in contrast, another kasambahay who is still a resident in the area had been de-listed. It is easy to suspect and surmise, but it is the duty of government to find out why and how did this happen,” he lamented.

In Cainta, Rizal, a person who lives and works in Qatar was also listed as recipient.

Nograles said these cases could just be some of the thousands more of unqualified people on the DSWD’s amelioration list.

Because of these irregularities, he urged the DSWD and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to investigate, stressing that every penny in the P22.9-billion amelioration fund must be fully accounted for and the people who abused it must be punished.

He warned that government officials found to be deliberately falsifying the list would face trouble with the Office of the Ombudsman.

“I hope DSWD can defend the listing because technical malversation and malversation of public funds is a serious crime that must be reported,” Nograles stressed.

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