Santiago calls for Senate probe over CCT fund loss

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago filed Wednesday a resolution calling for an investigation on the reports that that the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) has accumulated P5 billion in unliquidated cash advances from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

"The question we need to ask Philpost and DSWD is, what happened to the P5 billion?" Santiago said.

According to news reports, these cash advances were meant for distribution to a million beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in 9,657 municipalities.

Philpost is one of the monetary conduits used by the DSWD for the CCT component of its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which provides cash incentives to marginalized families to encourage them to send their children to school and get regular maternal checkups.

A recent Commission on Audit report found that these unliquidated funds in the hands of Philpost postmasters "exposed these funds to malversation, theft, or other risks."

"It appears that the DSWD is either lackadaisical in implementing the CCT program or complicit with the abuse of these public funds," Santiago said.

"These monetary conduits should be investigated for their failure in executing one of the administration's flagship programs. I would not be surprised if Philpost is not the only monetary conduit at fault," she said.

Santiago said she is puzzled why the funds for the CCT program balloons every year despite the failure of the DSWD to efficiently distribute the funds to the poor.

The COA report also said that the P4.936 billion in Philpost unliquidated advances were 1,000 percent more than the P449,841 million unliquidated balance that the agency incurred in 2012.

"The President's people made him look like a fool by convincing him that the CCT program is a success. The president even mentioned it in his recent SONA (State of the Nation Address)," Santiago said.

She also noted that the inefficiency of the CCT program shows the failure of the government in bringing inclusive growth to the country.

"Our public funds keep ending up either stolen or misused. I aim to rise from my sickbed when budget deliberations in the Senate come. I will not let this corruption pass without heads rolling," Santiago warned. (Camille P Balagtas/Sunnex)

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