THE government would do well now to conduct an immediate validation and reassessment of the 2.6 million beneficiaries of the multi-billion-peso conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.
This after the Commission on Audit (COA) reported that the unclaimed cash assistance for beneficiaries of the anti-poverty program has reached P3.108 billion in the last three years.
As a result, the COA presumed that there are beneficiaries of the project, otherwise known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), who are not really from the poorest sector.
“This condition manifests that some 4Ps beneficiaries were not actually in need of financial assistance,” according to the commission.
Of course, various quarters said that the COA revelation is a report that the government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), must attend to.
The COA asked the DSWD to “immediately delist ineligible beneficiaries” and coordinate the results of its validation with the government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
“Kung hindi ay baka dadami pa ang bilang ng ‘ineligible beneficiaries’ ng programang ito na merong budget na P62.7 bilyun noong nakaraang taon,” said an irate taxpayer in Manila.
Under the program, every month, a beneficiary is provided with cash advance of P1,400 to be used for the education of the children and medical needs of family members.
The COA also asked the DSWD to set a cut-off date for claiming cash grants after which the “unwithdrawn” sums can be forfeited in favor of the government and returned to the national coffers.
Thus, concerned state authorities should waste no time in ensuring that the CCT program, a brainchild of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, only benefits the poorest of the poor.