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CCT irregularities uncovered; 7,782 beneficiaries non-existent

Manila, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has discovered irregularities in the implementation of the multi-billion peso conditional cash transfer (CCT) program being implemented by the government for indigent families in the country.

The recently released 2012 Consolidated Audit Report on Official Development Assistance Programs and Project noted that a total 7,782 of the household beneficiaries were apparently non-existent although they were listed to have received a total P50.15 million.

The COA audit report also noted that some P18 billion in disbursements for the program from 2008 to 2012 have remained undocumented as of the end of December, 2012.

Manila Bulletin, CCT, Pantawid Pamilya

Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries from Manila show their household IDs while waiting for their turn to receive their cash grants during the pay-out held at Manila Central Post Office. (Photo from ncr.dswd.gov.ph)

“Grants and service fees of P50.15 million were paid to 7,782 household beneficiaries which could not be found in the List of Validated and Registered Household Beneficiaries of the National Household Targeting Office contrary to Special Provisions No. 5 for CY 2012 GAA (General Appropriations Act), thus, may be considered irregular and further resulting in additional cost to the government in the distribution of the conditional cash transfer,” the ODA audit report stated.

The ODA audit observations added: “Disbursements of P3.18 billion for grants paid through OTC for CYs 2008 to 2012 remained undocumented as of December 31, 2012 which cast doubts on the propriety of the recorded disbursements without the submitted Liquidation Reports which is not consistent with Section 4 (6) of PD 1445.”

The CCT is being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which was able to get a higher budget of P62.6 billion for the project this year.

The current allocation is P42 percent higher than the P44-billion fund the program received in 2013.

The Aquino government said the 2014 budget will cover 4.3 million households or 3.9 million more than the 2013 beneficiaries.

Government spent P44.2 billion to implement the pro-poor program in 2012.

Manila Bulletin tried to get the side of DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman but she could not be reached as of press time. Her staff at the Social Marketing Service said Soliman was still on her flight to Tacloban City.

The audit report covered foreign loans granted under the ODA program which was launched in 1995.

Since the start of the ODA program, a total 393 loans have been contracted by the national government. Loans under the ODA program were obtained from multilateral, bilateral and commercial credit schemes.

The CCT, which grants indigent families cash assistance, is among the ODA funded programs of the government and classified as Social Welfare and Development Reform Project by the Aquino administration.

According to COA, a total of 245 projects have been completed while 60, including the CCT, are still ongoing. Fourteen projects have yet to be started although funds are reportedly available.

“In 2012, 17 new loans were contracted with net loan commitments of P92.24 billion ($2.94 billion), 66.62 percent of these amounting to P61.45 were still undrawn wherein P6.72 million was paid for commitment fees,” COA reported.