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COA: P1.42B cash grants not claimed by 4Ps beneficiaries

Rappler.com
COA: P1.42B cash grants not claimed by 4Ps beneficiaries
The Commission on Audit also notes that P7.659 billion of CCT funds released through the Landbank of the Philippines remain unaccounted for

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Over P1.42 billion worth of cash grants for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have been not been withdrawn by beneficiaries, the Commission on Audit (COA) found out. 

Its 2016 audit showed that this amount covers the financial assistance for 2,646,577 beneficiaries of the government’s flagship anti-poverty scheme. 4Ps had a total budget appropriation of P62.7 billion last year. 

The state auditors said these accounts had balances between P501 to P50,000. Majority of these accounts or 87% have been untouched as of the last month or for over 6 years. 

“This condition manifests that some 4Ps beneficiaries were not actually in need of financial assistance,” COA noted. 

It recommended that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which implements the program, conducts a validation of these beneficiaries so that the money can be returned to the Bureau of Treasury.

The DSWD should also set a cut off for withdrawing the idle money, the COA said. 

COA also found that the amount of unclaimed assistance has increased to P3.108 billion from 2013 to 2016.  

In its 2015 audit, COA had similar findings: there were P1.2 billion unwithdrawn balances from 2.9 million accounts from 2008 to 2015. (READ: COA finds P1.25B in unused cash grants for 4Ps beneficiaries

Landbank’s failure to liquidate 

Aside from the unwithdrawn cash, COA said P7.659 billion of CCT funds released through the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) remained unaccounted for.

Failure to liquidate this, COA said, violates the memorandum of agreement between the LBP and the DSWD, which states the bank’s commitment to submit an audit within 5 working days from the last day of a pay-out. 

“[The DSWD] should make strong representation with the LBP to submit liquidation reports and to refund any unexpended balance,” COA said.  

They also noted that LBP had a total of P102,877,124 worth of transaction charges from the P14 it charges the DSWD every time a beneficiary withdraws through the cash card.  

COA said this amount has not been documented and required the government corporation to provide the original copy of its MOA with DSWD and receipts proving that the charge has been paid for.

DSWD validating accounts

In a statement on Sunday, July 9, DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo acknowledged the problems on the unliquidated amounts and unclaimed cash grants, adding that the department is crafting new financial management policies to address this.

On the issue of unliquidated CCT funds released through Landbank, Taguiwalo said that the remaining amount for liquidation is now down to P4.094 billion as of March 31, 2017.

“From January 2016 to March 2017, the DSWD has liquidated 47% of the original unliquidated balance of P7.658 billion which is an accumulated amount from 2008 – the year the program was implemented,” she said.

The DSWD also pointed out that it is Landbank’s primary responsibility to liquidate the funds.

On the issue of unwithdrawn cash grants, Taguiwalo said that there are only 194,198 accounts – not 2.65 million – with balances ranging from P501 to more than P50,000 that were not withdrawn from 30 to 2,190 days.

She added that the aggregage withdrawn cash grants amount to a total of P1.12 billion.

The DSWD secretary said the department is now validating the status of these accounts. 
Rappler.com 

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