DSWD warns against 'ghost beneficiaries' of cash aid

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 27) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development warned local government units about "ghost beneficiaries" allegedly trying to get their share of the cash assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the Laging Handa virtual briefing with government officials on Monday, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said those who have been using the name of dead beneficiaries as their way of getting government aid must face corresponding penalties once proven guilty.

"Doon po sa sinasabi nating patay na nakatanggap pa [ng ayuda], idinudulog po iyon sa mga social and local welfare development offices at iva-validate po," he said.

[Translation: Those who have been receiving aid using names of dead beneficiaries, that must be forwarded to social and local welfare development offices for validation.]

"Kapag nakarating sa DSWD, kung sino man po iyon na nameke nito ay meron pong responsibilidad na isauli ang pera at maaari po siyang kasuhan ng administratibo o criminal liability," Bautista added.

[Translation: Once this reaches the DSWD, whoever is proven to have cheated has the responsibility to return the money and may face administrative or criminal liability.]

Beneficiaries still entitled to second round of cash aid

Bautista also assured that those who have received the first round of subsidy are still entitled to the second tranche of the social amelioration program next month even if they are part of areas which will be downgraded from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ).

"Batay sa umiiral na panuntunan, kung sino yung nakatanggap ng unang wave ay sila rin ang makakatanggap ngayong Mayo (Based on the prevailing guidelines, whoever has received the first wave will still receive cash aid this May)," Bautista said.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, families from low-income households will receive cash aid ranging from ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 for two months as part of the government's ₱200-billion social aid package to those who have been affected by the Luzon-wide quarantine.

Bautista said the DSWD has already transferred 97.13 percent of designated funds to the LGUs for the distribution of the first tranche of the subsidy program.

'Zero tolerance' for corruption

In a separate briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte has "zero tolerance" for corruption, especially on the misuse of funds for financial aid.

He also expressed support for proposals to publish the names of cash aid beneficiaries for transparency.

"Sinuportahan na po natin iyang ideya na kinakailangan iyan for transparency. I-publish ang pangalan ng mga nakatanggap ng SAP (social amelioration program) at iba pang mga ayuda galing sa gobyerno. Zero tolerance po tayo sa corruption," he said.

[Translation: We also support that idea for transparency. Names of those who received SAP and other forms of aid from the government should be published. We have zero tolerance for corruption.]

According to Roque, the Department of Budget and Management has already sent instructions to government agencies to submit a list of their uncommitted funds by end of April which could be realigned for the administration's COVID-19 fight.

Citing the DBM, Roque said that the government has ₱77 billion worth of unreleased funds from 2019.