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MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) process of selecting beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in five regions, as majority of the beneficiaries did not come from the country’s national targeting system for the poorest families.
Auditors raised concerns that the cash assistance released under the 4Ps program have possibly gone to families who do not belong to the poorest sector, or those included in the Listahanan.
The Listahanan, officially known as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, is the DSWD’s database that determines who and where the poorest families in the country are, for purposes of targeting in anti-poverty programs.
The COA’s 2022 audit of the DSWD pointed to targeting anomalies in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.
The COA cross-matched 4Ps recipients and the Listahanan 2 in the five regions, and found that most were not in the poverty database.
“Of the 4,970 sampled beneficiaries included in the 4Ps database, 2,991 or 60.18% were not included in the Listahanan 2 submitted to the audit team,” the COA said.
Listahanan 2 was released in 2016. The updated Listahanan 3, which factors in the COVID-19 pandemic, was released in 2022. It is not clear why Listahanan 3 was not the database submitted to the COA.
The COA said that the inclusion of 4Ps beneficiaries who are not in the Listahanan is contrary to Republic Act No. 11310, or the 4Ps law.
Executive Order No. 867, series of 2010 also backs the use of the Listahanan as the basis for identifying poor households who are eligible for social protection programs.
The state auditors warned that the amount of program funds that may have been allotted to undeserving families could be substantial, considering the large discrepancy.
“The total amount of non-inclusion found was considered material as it represented 60.18% of the total sample size selected. This may mean that the 4Ps section included names in the 4Ps database independently assessed and not lifted from the Listahanan 2,” the COA said.
COA also noted duplicate beneficiaries in the 4Ps program.
“Payments to the 229 and 139 4Ps beneficiaries in CYs 2020 and 2021 amounting to P3.8 million and P3.2 million, respectively, included duplicate names casting doubt on the adequacy of controls to detect duplicates in the 4Ps database maintained in the Central Office,” the report read.
The COA has flagged duplicates in the 4Ps program in previous years. – Rappler.com