EDITORIAL - When the CCT detours, it naturally vanishes

The Freeman

Social Welfare secretary Dinky Soliman has clarified that the Philippine Postal Corporation only has P1.6 billion in unliquidated Conditional Cash Transfer funds and not P5 billion as reported by the COA. She misses the point entirely. Whether it is P1.6 billion or P5 billion is not the issue. What is at issue is why the DSWD entrusted at all some of the billions in cash doleouts to other agencies that have absolutely nothing to do with either social welfare or the poor.

That some agencies like the Philpost have the ability to reach the most far-flung villages in the country cannot gloss over the fact that disbursing the cash doleouts is not a Philpost responsibility no matter what agreement it may have inked with the DSWD. Without the inherent interest that the DSWD has in doing its job, the Philpost cannot be expected to exercise the due diligence required to protect the money entrusted to it.

On the contrary, this lack of inherent interest can easily give way to the temptation of neglecting the trust DSWD reposed in it. Why the Philpost cannot liquidate millions of the funds entrusted to it, or is having a hard time doing so, cannot be due to a glitch in its system considering that it is precisely because of DSWD's trust in the Philpost system that prompted it to engage its service in distributing the billions of cash meant to hush the poor.

It is bad enough already that the government is throwing away the hard-earned money of wage earners groveling under the most oppressive tax scheme in the world just so President Aquino will have no headache with the poor, it is worse when huge chunks of the money are being lost because they are not given directly to the beneficiaries but made to take some questionable detours.

The unliquidated amounts of detoured cash doleouts make for an added problem to an already problematic Aquino government policy of supposedly uplifting the plight of the poor but which in reality is just a political ploy to keep political patronage very much alive. If only somebody honest enough will dare scrutinize closely the lists of cash doleout beneficiaries, he or she will likely find many who are not really poor but simply happen to be favored by the powers that be.

Aside from the cash doleouts getting lost after making suspicious and questionable detours or greasing the palms of those not really poor but just happened to be relatives or friends of politicians, much of the money is also not being spent for poverty alleviation purposes. Many of those who receive cash doleouts do not spend the money as envisioned but use it instead for gambling, drinking and on drugs and other vices.

That the cash doleouts in the hundreds of millions are getting lost and could not be liquidated, or even adequately explained other than in a cavalier manner, then maybe it is time the questionable and ill-advised program be terminated. There is still time to scrap it from the budget and plug one more hole that is helping sink this sinking ship of state.












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