Tulfo: P1.7 billion SAP returned to Treasury

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star
Tulfo: P1.7 billion SAP returned to Treasury
A resident in Barangay 342, Manila received their cash aid on Wednesday (August 18, 2021).
Philstar.com / Irish Lising, file

MANILA, Philippines — Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo said that as much as P1.7 billion in Social Amelioration Program (SAP) funds in 2020 that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was unable to distribute to eligible beneficiaries has been returned to the Bureau of Treasury.

In his Monday morning flag ceremony address to DSWD employees, Tulfo said that state auditors have informed him that the P1.7 billion in SAP funds allotted for their Field Office (FO) National Capital Region and FO-Region 6 have been returned to the treasury, due to the lapse of a period allowed for the DSWD to distribute the funds for their stated purpose.

Tulfo said he was disclosing the information to allow DSWD to answer queries or complaints regarding the failure of some families to receive the cash dole-out.

“The COA (Commission on Audit) said... the P1.7-billion SAP funds were not distributed, particularly in Field Office NCR and Region 6. I’m sure we will be asked, there will be questions, just tell them it was already returned to the Bureau of Treasury,” Tulfo said in Filipino.

“The funds here have expired. So we have to return that to the Bureau of Treasury. There are no more SAP, we already returned it, the P1.7 billion. I don’t know what happened, I can’t answer for now but I will look into it,” Tulfo added.

The DSWD chief expressed his reluctance to look into the failure of the previous DSWD leadership to distribute the cash aid.

“Because, I really don’t want to deal with the past. Rather, I want to focus on the current situation and the future. That is what President Marcos said,” Tulfo said.

“Let us not dwell on the past anymore, it’s already done. Let’s focus our minds, our actions, our thoughts on the present and future,” Tulfo added.

Tulfo had been involved in a public spat with his predecessor, former DSWD chief retired general Rolando Bautista, in 2019 when he went on a televised invective-laced rant berating the former Army general for his alleged inefficiency and inaccessibility to media and the indigents the DSWD was supposed to serve.

The rant was followed by the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Marines withdrawing the security personnel detailed to provide security to Tulfo and his three brothers, who are also broadcast journalists and commentators – newly elected Sen. Raffy Tulfo, Ramon and Ben. The security detail of Tulfo’s sister-in-law, ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo, was also withdrawn by the PNP.

Bautista belongs to Philippine Military Academy Sandiwa Class of 1985. A seasoned military man, Bautista had garnered plaudits as the overall ground commander when terrorists attacked Marawi City in 2017.

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