Cebu News

Almost 20 thousand in Cebu ineligible for SAP funds

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman
Almost 20 thousand in Cebu ineligible for SAP funds
Of this number, 10,200 are city residents while 9,535 are from municipalities. In total, the amount of money received by these residents amounted to P118,410,000.

CEBU, Philippines —  Almost 20,000 residents of 30 local government units in Cebu received cash aid at P6,000 each from the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in 2020 even if they are not eligible for the aid, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its annual report for that year.

Of this number, 10,200 are city residents while 9,535 are from municipalities. In total, the amount of money received by these residents amounted to P118,410,000.

The city residents are from Mandaue (5,829), Talisay (2,629), Carcar (854), Cebu (632), Naga (234), and Bogo (22).

The numbers on the highly urbanized cities (HUC) are from the same data The Freeman cited in an earlier report on the HUC on their implementation of the SAP program.

The ineligible beneficiaries from the towns are from Balamban (1,180), Daanbantayan (862), Moalboal (822), Badian (653), Oslob (656), Sibonga (614), Barili (561), Ronda (509), Borbon (446), Dumanjug (331), Santander (274), Poro (264), Samboan (238), Catmon (281), Ginatilan (230), Aloguinsan (190), San Francisco (190), Pinamungahan (185), Boljoon (143), Bantayan (125), Malabuyoc (138), Alcantara (124), Tudela (122), Sogod (121), Carmen (104), Medellin (71), Tabuelan (64), Tabogon (19), Santa Fe (15) and San Fernando (3).

COA has directed the mayors of these LGUs to provide documents to prove that the beneficiaries are eligible, otherwise, the LGUs must demand for these residents to return or refund the money they received from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

SAP is a government intervention to aid in providing basic necessities, amelioration, and recovery of target beneficiaries who are deemed to suffer the greatest impact of the implementation of the community quarantine in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hence, recipients of these cash assistance should be properly identified by sufficient & competent documentation especially during its pay-out. The absence of such proper identification documents may suggest that the one receiving the subsidy might not be the one included in the master list/payroll,” COA said.

COA’s report from six other Cebu LGUs – Alcoy, Argao, Cordova, Minglanilla, San Remigio, and Madridejos – could not be accessed from the commission’s website yesterday, July 20, 2021.

Other Deficiencies

COA also noted other deficiencies in the implementation of the SAP programs in several LGUs although beneficiaries from these areas are not necessarily ineligible.

SAP distribution in the town of Asturias was not supported with the beneficiaries’ photocopy of identification card, specimen signatures, and photo while receiving the cash aid.

Asturias has explained that the identification documents and pictures were all in the custody of Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) and has committed to coordinate with them so that the documents can be submitted.

In Consolacion, COA said cash payouts to several SAP beneficiaries were also not supported with the beneficiaries’ photocopy of identification card with specimen signatures, and picture of the beneficiary taken during the actual receipt of the assistance/stipend.

Consolacion said these requirements are also with MSWDO and can be shown to COA anytime.

In Tuburan town, COA found initially that SAP cash assistance totaling P276,000 claimed by representatives had no written authority from 46 beneficiaries. However, on March 2, 2021, the OIC-MSWDO submitted the written authorization.

In Pilar town, COA noted that the payroll totaling P4,140,000 for the SAP distribution did not bear the certification and approval of proper officials. The town’s mayor has apologized for the oversight and promised to complete the requirements.

In Toledo City, COA said the release of SAP payment amounting to P46,134,000 out of the total budget allocation of P135,432,000 was done despite the absence of supporting documents. COA asked the LGU to liquidate P756,000 whose payroll was not signed by the beneficiaries.

Toledo said the required documents will be submitted to COA as soon as possible and the unused balance of the funds downloaded has been returned to DSWD.

In Danao City, COA said distribution of SAP aid to 23 barangays amounting to P41,868,000 was made without complete documentation. The basis of payment was reportedly only the certification of eligibility issued by the City Social Welfare Development Officer, COA said.

The Danao City accountant explained the payroll and disbursement vouchers had complete documentation when they were processed but these were reportedly not returned by DSWD-7 when the agency requested for the documents during the second tranche.

In Compostela, COA also noted that the cash pay-outs to SAP beneficiaries were not supported with photocopy of the identification card with specimen signatures and picture-taking of the beneficiary during actual receipt of the assistance/stipend.

In Lapu-Lapu City, COA said there remains an unutilized balance from the implementation of SAP distribution amounting to P638,000 that the city did not remit to DSWD-7 by the end of 2020.

COA noted, however, that the city has returned initially unused SAP funds amounting to P1,588,580.00.

No Report on SAP

Meanwhile, COA has no audit report on the SAP distribution in the towns of Alegria and Liloan.

Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco told The Freeman that COA’s issuance of an Unqualified Opinion for Liloan indicates that it found all the town’s transactions were above board, and that the financial reporting of all transactions of the LGU complies with the generally accepted accounting principles relating to government transactions. — JMO (FREEMAN)

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