Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo is not surprised by the findings of the Commission of Audit due to the nature of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the huge amount of cash being implemented, and since the Landbank of the Philippines is the sole government depository for the 4Ps payout.
According to Taguiwalo, the 4Ps program has major administrative weaknesses and there are not enough policies to address them.
“We have seen ways in which the program can be manipulated sans clear guidelines and tight monitoring.” Taguiwalo said through a statement. “The problems concerning unliquidated amounts and unclaimed grants are among these.”
The DSWD head promised that they are creating new financial management policies and procedures in order to address such lapses in procedure and documentation.
Through the Audit Observation Memorandum of the COA, the DSWD was able to identify issues including unliquidated funds, funds for remittance to the Bureau of Treasury, and unclaimed grants by 4Ps beneficiaries.
“On the issue of unliquidated funds of Php 7.658 billion as of December 2016, the DSWD has explained to the COA that as of March 31, 2017, the remaining amount for liquidation is down to Php 4.09 billion. From January 2016, to March 2017, the DSWD has liquidated 47% of the original unliquidated balance of Php 7.65 billion which is an accumulated amount from 2008 – the year the program was implemented.” Sec. Taguiwalo said.
Taguiwalo also insist that Landbank is responsible for liquidation and submitting related documents.
The DSWD head asked that that their partner bank also implement necessary steps in order to recover the money that should be remitted to the Bureau of Treasury for accounts that are due for closure.
“Of the original accumulated unremitted amount of Php 4.099 billion, the DSWD has thus far remitted Php 946,230,055.04 and Php 992,256,640.76. We are also ready to remit additional Php 752, 897, 500 as soon as the guidelines are in place.” Taguiwalo said.
The secretary also clarified that only 194,198 accounts with balances ranging from Php 501 to more than Php 50,000 were not withdrawn during the last 30 to 210 days, and only Php 1,121,721,207.87 were not withdrawn.
“Our initial validation showed the following: 7,072 accounts with outstanding balance of Php 43, 378, 639. 88 are already withdrawn by beneficiaries; 8,961 accounts with grants amounting to Php 53, 262, 772.52 still for withdrawal. These accounts were reported as claimed, however, beneficiaries were either unaware that they have unclaimed grants or do not know how to withdraw; 9,210 cash cards with total balance of Php 116,638,632.12 lost/stolen/damaged, hence due for replacement; 7,129 accounts with balance of Php 20,673, 603. 89 due for closure due to ineligibility or waiver from the program; 4,207 accounts with unwithdrawn grants of Php 37,280,014.13 inactive but appealable household status. Closure of account or release of cash grants shall be identified once final HH status is updated in the Pantawid Pamilya Information System; and 88 accounts with total cash grants of Php 517, 088.65 kept by beneficiaries as savings. As for the remaining 148,876 accounts with grants of Php 702,709, 029.64, the department shall fast track the validation, investigation or re-assessment on the eligibility of concerned beneficiaries.” Taguiwalo said.
Sec. Taguiwalo further added that unclaimed grants are problems that should be resolved by a clear cut policy on forfeiture.