MALACAÑANG will not fire Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) over the Commission on Audit (COA) report that at least P1 billion of the Conditional Cash Transfer program for the poor went to ghost beneficiaries.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte defended Soliman, noting that COA failed to include the steps that the DSWD has taken to ensure the integrity of the CCT list.
“This is not the first time that COA had adverse findings on DSWD, and in our past experiences, the DSWD has always been able to answer the issues raised by the COA report to their [COA] satisfaction,” Valte said in a Radyo ng Bayan interview.
Under the CCT, the government’s flagship program to reduce poverty, poor families receive a monthly stipend as long as parents keep their children in school, and family members undergo regular medical check-ups and attend family development sessions.
Each month, a family gets P500 for health and nutrition expenses and P300 for each child in elementary school and P500 for those in high school.
In its report, COA said P1 billion from the fund went to about 360,000 households that were not listed as CCT beneficiaries.
Soliman has denied that the CCT funding was wasted, saying that 256,663 of the CCT beneficiaries were not in the Listahanan database because they were part of the modified CCT which includes the homeless and indigenous peoples.
The remaining 107,373 households were not found by COA because the audit body has limited access to Listahanan.
Valte lamented that while the DSWD submitted its response to the adverse COA report on November 15, COA ignored it and even excluded the response from its final audit report released on December 15.
“It is important to include the response of the management and have it considered in coming up with a COA report. The records coming from Regional Offices could take a while, so the National Office had to pull these out to make it to the COA findings,” Valte said.
As of November this year, at least 100,000 households were struck from the CCT program for not complying with the conditions.