As much as P6.39 billion in funds for the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program has not been liquidated as of 2015, including payouts from 2008 to 2014, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
Some P1.579 billion in funds meant for CCT beneficiaries have remained idle in state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines and its conduits over five years of the Aquino administration, state auditors said.
Almost 400,000 accounts of the beneficiaries did not reflect any withdrawals since the accounts were opened, amounting to P139 million in total, the COA said in a consolidated audit report released this week.
These were some of COA’s observations in a general audit of government projects funded by official development assistance (ODA) for 2015.
Also known as 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), the CCT provides cash grants to poor families to improve their health and nutrition, and help in the schooling of children up to 18 years old.
The program is being carried out by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and is partly funded by foreign loans.
Last year’s budget for the CCT, the Aquino administration’s flagship antipoverty program was P62.3 billion.
As of Dec. 31, 2015, according to COA, the DSWD had availed itself of seven foreign loans amounting to P90.03 billion to implement five projects, three of which are still ongoing, including the CCT.
In February, the World Bank approved a new $450-million (about P21-billion) loan to the Philippines to augment funding for the project in the next four years.
In its report, COA cited “recurring deficiencies in the implementation of 4Ps resulting in delayed delivery of assistance to rightful beneficiaries or unnecessary holding of idle funds” by Landbank and its conduits.
Payments to qualified beneficiaries suffered delays by 12 to 15 months due to delayed processing and release of checks or absence of partner conduits, among others, it said.
For 2015, only 22.28 percent of the budgeted amount of P562.40 million was released to the beneficiaries, the agency said.
From 2010 to 2015, some P1.579 billion in the bank accounts of CCT beneficiaries has not been touched, it said.
These accounts pertain to “noncompliant, delisted or unpaid household beneficiaries.”
As of Dec. 31, 2015, the accounts of 3 million beneficiaries with the Landbank reflected a cumulative balance of P1.252 billion, of which P1.1 million remained outstanding or left “un-withdrawn” from 30 days to 2,190 days.
This showed that “there was no immediate need for assistance,” the COA said.
It said 79,530 accounts had undrawn balances ranging from P2,801 to P102,200. On the other hand, 386,435 accounts with cumulative undrawn balance of P139.008 million have not reflected any withdrawal since these were opened.
Auditors also cited delays in the submission of liquidation documents by Landbank, resulting in its inability to assess the status of the P6.391 billion balance.
From 2008 to 2014, the unliquidated balance amounted to P3.322 billion, the COA said.
Under the memorandum agreement between Landbank and the DSWD, liquidation documents should be submitted within five working days from the last date of scheduled payout, the COA noted.
Likewise, the amount refunded by Landbank of P1.451 billion was not returned to the Bureau of Treasury, it said.
The COA said the information system on the CCT remained inaccurate.
“There were validated compliant beneficiaries excluded or suspended from the payroll, beneficiaries paid in 2015 for 2012 cash grants under the retroactive mode of payment without record in the Grievance Redress System, and 327 households with duplicate names under different household IDs,” it said.
The COA, however, also had something positive to say about the CCT, noting that based on the accomplishment report attached to payroll payments for 2015, the beneficiaries registered an average compliance rate of 95.82 percent.
It recognized how the program helped 333,673 beneficiaries who graduated from high school in April.
Under the CCT, two types of cash grants are given: a health grant of P500 per household every month, or a total of P6,000 every year, and an education grant of P300 per child every month for ten months, or a total of P3,000 every year.
The families may continue receiving the grants, provided they meet certain requirements, such as a minimum attendance of 85 percent in class, or getting their children vaccinated and weighed regularly.
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