'Walang mangungupit': DOF chief says digitizing cash aid distribution to curb corruption

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2020 10:20 AM | Updated as of Aug 25 2020 10:44 AM

A woman counts the amount of cash aid given by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on July 3, 2020. The PRC reached out to 204 beneficiary families in Tondo giving out P3,500 per family as part of their cash assistance to households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez on Tuesday said digitalization would eradicate corruption in cash aid distribution, after it has been put to test in the small wage subsidy program during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Direct distribution of cash aid should be through banks or e-wallets to avoid intermediaries and handling cash, Dominguez said in taped Palace briefing aired Tuesday. 

"We think all subsidy programs in the future should be digitized, in other words through digitalization of all transactions," Dominguez said. 

"Mahirap gumawa ng kalokohan dito kung by computer, walang cash na hinahandle, nobody can keep the cash...As little cash as possible, so walang mangungupit, walang mawawala," he added. 

(It's difficult to commit fraud here. No cash will be handled)

Duterte, in the briefing, agreed that sending cash aid digitally "will lessen corruption." 

"Ang pinakaimportante rito ang paghulog sa bangko ng gobyerno diretso sa empleyado, no intermediary, no intervention of any kind," the chief executive said. 

(The most important thing here is depositing funds in the bank by the government, then straight to employees)

Dominguez added that some of the lessons learned during the pandemic include the need for managing the timeline and collaborating with the private sector in implementing programs. 

The Philippines has sought the help of Microsoft and UnionBank, for example, during its small wage subsidy program distribution, he said. 

Some P41 billion have been disbursed out of the P51 billion small wage subsidy program of the Department of Finance, Dominguez told President Rodrigo Duterte. 

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