In 2020, the beneficiaries of the government’s social amelioration program who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic received P5,000 to P8,000, depending on the prevailing minimum wage in their respective areas.
But according to state auditors, out of a random sampling of 6,761 listed beneficiaries of the second tranche of SAP, 135 individuals complained that they did not get any cash assistance from the government.
“Due to limitations imposed on our audit, we can only rely on samples; however, it is worth mentioning that the two percent, if taken as a whole in the implementation of the social amelioration program, can have a huge impact on the validity of the payments made to various identified recipients,” COA said.
State auditors noted that of the 135 beneficiaries, 35 changed their phone numbers from the original numbers they submitted for inclusion in the program. Meanwhile, the rest who retained their original numbers said they did not receive any notification alerting them to collect the cash assistance.
The DSWD explained that the 35 individuals who changed their numbers would really not receive cash assistance since they would not have passed electronic validation through the Know Your Customer (KYC) process. The auditors, however, pointed out that despite the KYC process, these accounts appeared as “paid.”
“Validation disclosed that it appears in the database that they were paid, which puts in question where and to whom it was paid. As per interview with the beneficiaries, they are not aware that they are already paid and there were no notifications sent to them for claiming,” the COA said.
The DSWD said it would have to review the other 100 accounts to verify if they attempted to claim the cash assistance.
The DSWD engaged the services of Financial Service Providers (FSPs) such as Starpay, Robinsons Bank, UnionBank, RCBC, GCash, and PayMaya for the distribution of the cash assistance. In reaction to the audit, the department said it would revalidate the 135 accounts and its data with the FSPs’ liquidation reports. – Rappler.com