Gov’t to probe discrepancies, red tape in distribution of cash aid

By: Krissy Aguilar - Inquirer.net | April 06,2020 - 03:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The government vowed Monday to investigate any discrepancy in the distribution of cash aid under its social amelioration program for those affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is guarding against any “cumbersome rules” on the release of the financial assistance.

“Kung may discrepancies, kung may report sa atin, iinvestigate agad natin,” Nograles said in a virtual briefing.

(If there are discrepancies and there is a report to us, we will investigate that.)

“Ayaw naman po natin ng delays kung may mga cumbersome rules or mga red tape na nandyan. We try to do away with it as much as possible kaya nandyan na rin po yung ARTA para tignan kung saan ‘yung mga may problema sa system, kung saan nagkakabuhol-buhol, ano ‘yung mga cumbersome, para we can do away with it without sacrificing, of course, ‘yung ating pag-account at audit,” he assured.

(We do not want any delays if there are cumbersome rules or red tape there. We try to do away with it as much as possible that is why ARTA is there to oversee the problem in the system, where the bottlenecks are, what are cumbersome, so we can do away with it without sacrificing, of course, the accounting and auditing.)

Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. earlier lamented the “cumbersome set of rules” supposedly used by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in releasing the cash assistance to poor families badly hit by the national health emergency.

However, Nograles said that as of Monday, DSWD already distributed over P16.3 billion in cash grant to 3.6 million beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

“We have the full strength of the Office of the President, kasama ‘yung ARTA, kasama ‘yung Presidential Anti-Corruption [Commission], at siyempre nandyan ‘yung Ombudsman though that’s separate from the Office of the President. So kung may mga discrepancies at mga pandaraya, nandyan po ‘yung mga mekanismo na ‘yan,” Nograles noted.

(We have the full strength of the Office of the President, ARTA, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ombudsman though that’s separate from the Office of the President. If there are discrepancies or fraud, these mechanisms are there to address them.)

Some 18 million low-income households are targeted to benefit from the government’s social amelioration program, which was rolled out amid the prevailing national emergency and Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown halted work for the majority of the people as mass transportation was also suspended.

The amount of aid ranges from P5,000 to P8,000, but recipients will get varying sum since the benefit will depend on the prevailing minimum wage in their respective regions.

Beneficiaries of the social amelioration program include informal sector workers and other members of the vulnerable sectors whose livelihoods were affected by the strict quarantine measures.

KGA

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TAGS: Cash aid, discrepancies, distribution, Gov’t, PROBE, red-tape

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