In Pampanga, one person claimed P147,000 in DOLE cash aid intended for 35 people

File photo shows hands exchanging cash.
The STAR/Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Cash aid amounting to P147,000 intended for 35 people was claimed by just one person in Magalang town in Pampanga, contrary to rules set by the Department of Labor and Employment.

This was among the “deficiencies” flagged by the Commission on Audit on Pampanga’s implementation of the DOLE’s one-time cash-for-work program called Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers, which the province got P91.18 million for.

The COA said in its annual audit report that the one person who took the cash aid intended for 35 people should have been personally claimed by the beneficiaries themselves or an immediate family member.

Worse, the COA said only 15 confirmed having received their cash aid, while 10 did not receive any financial assistance. The report is silent on whether the other 10 beneficiaries received aid or not.

State auditors recommended that Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda require the Provincial Treasurer’s Office to ensure that only those authorized by the DOLE can claim financial assistance.

Duplicated names, personal info

A review by the COA also showed that of the 21,710 beneficiaries in the province, 5,012 have either the same names and birthdates, contact numbers, type of ID or ID numbers. Meanwhile, 850 contact numbers were “not reliable” as they were unreachable or incorrect.

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“Thus, it would be difficult to confirm actual receipt by beneficiary of the financial assistance since most of the numbers called belong only to one beneficiary,” state auditors said.

In explaining this, Pampanga’s Provincial Employment Services Office said the duplication of personal information of beneficiaries was due to “restrictions and limitation of program implementation as profiling and validation including the gathering of possible beneficiaries at once.”

The PESO offices of Magalang, Arayat, Lubao, Candaba, Mabalacat, Minalin, Macabebe, Masanto, Guagua and Floridablanca also committed to investigate the duplication of 11 names of beneficiaries.

Further, the COA reported that 22 of the beneficiaries denied having received cash aid twice, contrary to what was reported in the master list which claimed that P92,400 was received by those people.

Five beneficiaries told state auditors that they received cash aid twice, resulting in a double payment totalling to P21,000.

“The excessive payments to the beneficiaries due to the lack of control measures in the processing of claims deprived the other qualified applicants who have not availed of any financial assistance,” the COA said.

It also flagged the failure of workers to receive cash aid, saying this “defeated the main purpose” of the first Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which mandated TUPAD.

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