MANDAUE City distributed a total of P34.96 million in financial aid under the National Government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to 5,827 “ineligible” beneficiaries, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
In its 2020 report, the state auditors said the City received P334,650,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on April 14, 2020, for the implementation of the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) through SAP for the 27 barangays of the city.
However, its review of the transaction revealed that 5,827 beneficiaries were included in the DSWD 7’s list of ineligible beneficiaries after the DSWD’s post-validation of the submitted documents of the recipients of the first tranche of the aid.
These ineligible beneficiaries are from Barangay Alang-Alang (308), Bakilid (116), Banilad (192), Basak (346), Cabancalan (267), Cambaro (87), Canduman (199), Casili (125), Casuntingan (236), Centro (119), Cubacub (158), Guizo (382), Ibabao-Estancia (54), Jagobiao (296), Labogon (372), Looc (103), Maguikay (174), MAntuyong (36), Opao (96), Pagsabungan (231), Paknaan (342), Subangdaku (144), Tabok (198), Tawason (205), Tingub (117), Tipolo (240) and Umapad (648).
The total amount given to the ineligible beneficiaries was P34,962,000.
In an interview, Mandaue City Administrator Jamaal James Calipayan said there were some ineligible beneficiaries who had already returned the financial assistance to the City way before the COA findings were released.
Upon verification, the COA disclosed that about P3,402,000 had been returned by the 567 ineligible SAP recipients and the amount had been handed over to DSWD.
During the preparation of the distribution of the first tranche, Calipayan said they were confused on what qualifications to implement because of the evolving advisories on the qualifications that were set by the DSWD.
Calipayan said the DSWD later told the city and barangay officials not to worry as the agency will deploy its validators to each barangay.
These validators were the ones who checked the qualifications of the SAP applicants and determined if they were eligible, thus the DSWD had the last say in qualifying the beneficiaries, said Calipayan.
The COA recommended conducting an investigation on the inclusion of the ineligible families for the grant SAP cash assistance.
But Calipayan said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) had already conducted an investigation on this after the distribution of the first tranche so the City would no longer have ineligible beneficiaries for the second and third tranches of SAP distribution.
Calipayan said it does not mean that those who did not qualify for the first tranche would not also qualify for the succeeding tranches.
“If you look at the implementation, there were validations that were done, and the DSWD personnel sent by the region to our barangays allowed these beneficiaries to receive SAP,” said Calipayan.
The COA recommended to the City to require the ineligible SAP beneficiaries to refund the financial assistance to the DSWD.
Calipayan said they will wait for the COA to release an order to go after the ineligible beneficiaries and collect the refund.
The city official said some of the ineligible beneficiaries have already spent the financial assistance that they received last year.
In case there are ineligible beneficiaries who want to return or refund the financial assistance, Calipayan said they are still willing to accept the money. (KFD)