DSWD says to ask LGUs to refund COVID-19 cash aid given to illegal recipients

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2020 06:13 PM

Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) drivers, mostly from Grab, collect a box each of relief goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development at a designated collection area in Quezon City on April 17, 2020. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Local government units will be asked to refund money if proven that they distributed the government's emergency cash aid for the coronavirus crisis to illegal recipients, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said Monday.

The refund process will be done after the agency validates the recipients of the cash aid program, DSWD Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin said.

The DSWD last week removed the validation stage in the process of availing the cash aid to allow local government units to distribute money within 24 hours upon receipt of funds.

"Kung mapatunayan na ito ay hindi kwalipikado, bibigyan ng advisory ang ating LGus na itong mga pondo na naibigay ay irerefund doon sa DSWD," Gudmalin said in a virtual press briefing.

(If proven that the recipients are not qualified, LGUss will be given an advisory that they need to refund the funds.)

The government has allotted a P200-billion budget to provide subsidies, ranging from P5,000 to P8,000, to over 18 million families for 2 months.

Among those entitled to the cash aid are the elderly, homeless Filipinos, pregnant women, indigents, “no work, no pay” workers, and families that belong to the marginalized sectors.

Gudmalin said as part of the validation process, LGUs will be asked to submit documents to prove that they distributed the funds properly.

Local officials will also be given a chance to refute findings of the DSWD.

"Ito ay ireresolba ng DSWD sa madaliang panahon," he said.

(This will be resolved by the DSWD.)

As of Sunday, Gudmalin said the DSWD has released P74.75 billion in social amelioration funds to 1,359 local governments for distribution to millions of poor families.