COA points out inefficiencies in 4Ps program

MANILA, Philippines – Underpayment and lack of payments to beneficiaries, unnecessary bank fees, and double entries were among the “recurring deficiencies” of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) recently pointed out by the Commission on Audit (COA). 

COA released on Friday, September 4, its 2014 Consolidated Audit Report on Official Development Assistance (ODA) Programs and Projects, which pointed out millions of pesos in costs for over-the-counter (OTC) disbursements to 499,648 4Ps beneficiaries.

“Continuous payments of… grants thru OTC scheme when ATM facilities are available resulted in unnecessary bank service fees estimated at P149.894 million, not to mention administrative costs in supervising and monitoring OTC pay-out,” the COA report read.

The program seeks to empower poor families able to meet government-set conditions by providing a monthly P500 health grant and yearly P3000 education cash assistance. This is given in trenches for 10 months, with a maximum of 3 children per family who may be qualify.

The anti-poverty cash transfer program had a budget of P62.6 billion in 2014 and P62.3 billion for 2015.

In its report, COA said there were uncollected fees by 6,687 beneficiaries, 1,872 double entries, and 7,613 complaints of lack of payment or underpayment despite compliance certificates in the 2014 implementation of the program.

A balance of P1.598 billion was also left undisbursed from the P15.323 billion transferred to Land Bank of the Philippines supposedly for OTC disbursements in 8 regions.

In Region 6, 4,445 4Ps qualified beneficiaries were given “deficient” cash grants for the last two months of 2014 due to a delayed database update.

“Implementation… needs continuous monitoring and improvement to ensure efficient fund utilization and timely delivery of assistance to various beneficiaries,” the COA report read further. –