COA finds P1.25B in unused cash grants for 4Ps beneficiaries
MANILA, Philippines – Removal from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) looms for thousands of households after the Commission on Audit (COA) discovered that there have been untouched payroll accounts with balances amounting to more than P1 billion.
"Examination of the cash card balances of beneficiaries' accounts with the LBP (Land Bank of the Philippines) revealed that as of December 31, 2015, there are 2,990,229 accounts with unwithdrawn balances totaling P1,252,486,000 from 2008 to 2015," state auditors said in a report released July 27.
Under the 4Ps or conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, the country's poorest families are given cash grants. In exchange, they should ensure that their children go to school and remain healthy, while pregnant mothers receive regular medical check-ups. (READ: DSWD: Over 67,000 4Ps families at risk of reverting to poverty)
For state auditors, the fact that funds were not withdrawn is a red flag.
"It is very remarkable that the accounts have very significant unwithdrawn amounts. It gives, therefore, an impression that the holders of the accounts were not in dire need of assistance for the education of their children, health needs of the family, and other basic expenses," COA pointed out.
If owners of the accounts are not among the country's poorest families, then they should be disqualified from receiving the cash grants. And yet, COA said, "delisting of accounts were still not made."
The untouched balances date back to as early as 2008. The program was launched under the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007.
But state auditors found that 88% of the P1-billion balance was deposited to 79,530 accounts between 2011 and 2015. The biggest unwithdrawn balances were P25,000 to P102,200 deposited in 3,490 payroll accounts.
Digging further, COA discovered through a random sampling of 48 accounts with a balance of at least P25,000 that the most recent activities happened from April 2011 to September 2015.
These accounts continued to receive cash grants from P500 to P3,600 in 2016 with 13 of them receiving the payout via over-the-counter transaction. (READ: No new beneficiaries under 4Ps, says Taguiwalo) – Rappler.com