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DSWD chief vows to ‘take most harsh action’ vs barangay exec in cash aid deduction

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Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian assured the public that the barangay official behind the deduction of Php8,500 from the Php10,000 cash aid received by a pregnant beneficiary last June 6 will be held accountable and be given “the most harsh action.”

“Talagang alam namin na may kaltasan na nangyari. We investigated it, and we will make sure to take the most harsh action para hindi maging example ito na wala dapat nagkaka-interes sa binibigay na benepisyo sa ating mga nangangailangan,” Secretary Gatchalian said in a media interview on Monday (June 10).

(We are fully aware that there was an incidence of deduction. We investigated it, and we will ensure that we will take the most harsh action so that this serves as an example that no one should tamper with the benefits intended for those in need.)

Secretary Gatchalian said that based on the initial investigation by the DSWD’s Field Office 11 (Davao Region), the barangay official withheld the Php8,500 and only Php1,500 was given to Anne Villarin, a beneficiary of the Php10,000 cash aid under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program during the payout in Davao.

“Syempre they are in denial pero kasi may sinabi sila na very vague yung sagot pero alam mo na mayroong [nangyari na pagbabawas sa pera] para raw ibibigay din sa iba na nangangailangan. Parang implicit, implied na pag-amin na parang we did it because may iba kaming magandang layunin. Pero regardless. Sana ni-refer na lang nila yung ibang nangangailangan sa aming tanggapan para buo rin na nakatanggap non [assistance],” the DSWD chief explained.

(Of course, they are in denial, but they gave a very vague response, yet you know that there was a deduction of funds. They said it was to be given to others in need. It’s like an implicit admission, suggesting that we did it because we had other good intentions. But regardless, they should have just referred other individuals to our office so that they could receive assistance in full.)

The DSWD Field Office-11 (Davao Region) assisted Anne Villarin on Monday (June 10) in filing criminal and administrative cases against the barangay official, including the preparation of the affidavit of complaint, police blotter, and other documents that will support the victim’s claim such as the signed payroll for the Php10,000 cash aid.

“We are calling on all beneficiaries to never allow anybody to give their cash grants to them. Their grants are for them. And if somebody tries to get it, what they should do is report to the DSWD rather than give the cash grant,” Secretary Gatchalian said in a statement on Monday.

Secretary Gatchalian said the DSWD Field Office 11 will not only assist Ms. Villarin in filing her complaint but will also serve as a co-complainant since the Php10,000 came from the AICS program of the Department.

“Let this be a warning to all. DSWD cash grants are for beneficiaries alone. Nobody, not even government officials, should take part of these cash aids,” Secretary Gatchalian stressed.

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