DSWD chief warns local gov’t officials involved in anomalies in cash aid distribution

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 13) - The national government assures Filipinos that local government officials will be held accountable for irregularities found in carrying out the cash assistance program amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development chief on Monday warned local government officials involved in anomalies in cash aid distribution that they may be suspended if proven guilty.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said in a televised briefing that the agency has set up a grievance redress system, where Filipinos may file complaints against erring local government officials.

"Ito’y isang mekanismo para sa ating mga kababayan na sa tingin nila nakakita sila ng anomalya o iregularidad sa pagbibigay ng SAP (social amelioration program) ay maari nilang idulog ito sa aming grievance redress system," Bautista said in a briefing on Monday.

[Translation: This is a mechanism for our people who think they have found anomalies or irregularities in providing SAP (social amelioration program) so they can report it to our grievance redress system.]

Bautista said he discussed the issue with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and the latter said local government officials found guilty of violating provisions of the law will be suspended.

"Ang sabi niya basta ma-substantiate ang ebidensiya ay isu-suspend niya kaagad kung sino yung opisyal ng LGU na yun," Bautista said.

[Translation: He said that as long as the evidence is substantiated, he would immediately suspend the LGU officer involved.]

"Dapat nga masampolan natin yung mga LGU para hindi gayahin nung mga iba," Bautista added.

[Translation: This would serve as example to LGUs so that others will not follow.]

The Department of Social Welfare and Development on Thursday admitted challenges in distributing the cash subsidy to low income families who are financially suffering due to the COVID-19 crisis, saying the problem started at the local government level.

READ: DSWD eyes improved cash aid distribution after noting 'shortcomings'

While the DSWD is leading the distribution of the cash aid, the local government units play an indispensable role.

LGUs were tasked to determine the qualified beneficiaries and submit the database to the national government.

Bautista urged the public to raise complaints when they see erring local officials, so that the national government may respond accordingly.