‘Something doesn’t add up:’ Lacson laments SAP fund discrepancy


SEN. Panfilo Lacson lamented the “discrepancy” that marred the Duterte administration’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), wondering how the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can claim a 94 percent physical accomplishment of its SAP fund distribution when “only 80 percent of the funds were disbursed” to its intended beneficiaries.

Lacson raised the issue during Monday’s plenary deliberation on the DSWD’s proposed P191.4-billion budget for 2022, pointing out “something doesn’t add up.”

The senator cited DSWD’s latest data submitted to the Senate which showed the agency was able to distribute SAP to 717,372 out of 761,259 target beneficiary families, acknowledging this would constitute a 94.23-percent accomplishment as of August 31, 2021.

But Lacson also noted that according to the same report, DSWD has disbursed “just about 80 percent of the funds” for the SAP beneficiaries.

He recalled DSWD’s Hannah Carcido explaining that the DSWD adjusted its targets, adding that the potential target as of January 2021 was 855,597 beneficiaries instead of 717,372.

Lacson, likewise, prodded DSWD officials to learn from its “poor planning” that prompted them to engage Starpay after they found 70 percent of SAP beneficiaries either have defective or no mobile phones at all.

“The DSWD became reactive,” the senator observed, noting “it did not determine the beneficiaries’ capability to use mobile phones before distributing the aid so it had to engage financial service providers. It should have planned first and determined the capability of the beneficiaries to receive aid via mobile phones. The bottom line is poor planning.”

Moreover, he recalled that local government units, on the other hand, ran into problems distributing the SAP after complaints were lodged against them for not distributing the SAP based on the DSWD’s data, which turned out to be outdated, dating back to 2015.

Lacson noted “some barangay chairmen agreed among themselves to just redistribute the P5,000 to P8,000 accordingly because the list provided by the DSWD central office was outdated,” adding “they wanted to adapt to the situation on the ground. We cannot fault the local government units.”

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