Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said on Friday her transition team will look into the P6.3 billion in unliquidated funds for the Conditional Cash-Transfer (CCT) Program of the Aquino administration in 2015. In a news statement released to Palace reporters, Taguiwalo cited a recent audit by the Commission on Audit (COA) indicating some P6.3 billion in unliquidated funds for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) administered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“Although the COA report indicated that the amounts remained either idle or unliquidated with the Land Bank [of the Philippines] and its conduits, and other government agencies, the department is alarmed by the magnitude of the amounts involved, because they are equal to more than 10 percent of the budget of the DSWD,” she said.
Among the comments the COA made was that there were recurring deficiencies in the implementation of the 4Ps, resulting in delayed delivery of assistance to rightful beneficiaries or unnecessary holding of idle funds by Land Bank and its conduits. Payments to qualified beneficiaries suffered delays by 12 to 15 months due to delayed processing and release of checks or absence of partner- conduits, among others, it said.
Taguiwalo said the transition team of the DSWD will use the COA audit as leads in their review of the Duterte administration’s own CCT Program. According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the CCT Program will be retained for 2017, and some P54 billion will be allocated for it from the P3.35-trillion proposed national budget for next year.
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said, however, that the government will be more efficient in administering the P54 billion to ensure that the cash doleout would achieve its goals of stimulating the economy and lifting the poorest Filipino families by giving them subsidies and incentives to keep their children in school.
One of the policies, which Diokno is looking into for the more efficient use of the funds, is to allow the local governments to determine the beneficiaries of the cash doleout, instead of centralizing this task with the DSWD.
He said the conditional cash transfer program during the previous administration suffered a big wastage because there were some beneficiaries who were not qualified to receive the subsidies, while there are many Filipinos who are qualified for such subsidies but were not included in the DSWD’s list.