Cayetano, House leaders seek probe into delays in DSWD subsidy program

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano led a group of 9 House leaders in filing a resolution calling for an investigation into delays in the distribution of the Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD) emergency subsidy to poor Filipino families.

On Monday, June 15, the following ranking House members filed House Resolution (HR) No. 973, a copy of which was sent to reporters on Tuesday, June 16: 

  • Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Taguig City-Pateros 1st District
  • Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Camarines Sur 2nd District
  • Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, Batangas 2nd District
  • Deputy Speaker Dan Fernandez, Laguna 1st District
  • Deputy Speaker Neptali Gonzales II, Mandaluyong City
  • House committee on acounts chair Abraham Tolentino, Cavite 8th District
  • House committee on Metro Manila development chair Manuel Lopez, Manila 1st District
  • Cristal Bagatsing, Manila 5th District
  • Ruth Mariano Hernandez, Laguna 2nd District 

The resolution comes less than two weeks after Cayetano warned that the House would hold government officials accountable over several "inexcusable" problems in the implementation of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which gave President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to address the coronavirus pandemic.

In a June 5 speech, the Speaker had zeroed in on delays in the distribution of the DSWD's emergency subsidy for some 18 million poor Filipino families as well as the cash aid to frontliners fighting COVID-19, which has so far infected over 26,000 in the country

In HR No. 973, the lawmakers slammed the DSWD's "lengthy and complicated" application procedure for the emergency subsidy program.

The House leaders also alleged that several DSWD regional directors did not listen to suggestions of local government units (LGUs) on how to further streamline the distribution process. (TRACKER: DSWD assistance during coronavirus crisis

This forced thousands of beneficiaries to wait for weeks before getting the cash aid that had been promised to them. 

The lawmakers also said the DSWD did not have an updated master list of poor Filipino households, further delaying the vetting process as the agency based its data on the outdated and "inadequate" 2015 national census. 

"Contrary to the principles and directives set forth by the President to expedite the distribution of assistance to the public, the aforementioned concerns and issues caused delays, which led the DSWD to miss distribution deadlines twice and for the second tranche of distribution intended for the month of May to be deferred," the House leaders said.  

The DSWD began distributing the second tranche of the emergency subsidy only on June 11 or after almost a month-and-a-half delay.

The department has also released P99.8 billion to 17.6 million families as of June 3, but the DSWD said 83 local governments still have not completed payouts for the first tranche of cash aid, which was meant for the month of April. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

image