MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III is urging national government to publish the names of Filipinos who received cash aid, saying the law which authorized the coronavirus Special Amelioration Program (SAP) requires transparency.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should "upload in its website" the list of recipients and the areas already covered in the distribution of cash aid guaranteed under the Bayanihan to Heal as One law, Sotto said in a statement.
"Sa panahon ng krisis, mahalagang siguruhin natin na hindi naaabuso ang sistema," Sotto said.
(During a crisis, we have to ensure that the system is not abused.)
"Political patronage should be set aside during this difficult time. We should all work together to ensure that government is not hoodwinked by abusive leaders," he said.
Publishing the list of coronavirus cash aid recipients will "assure the public that the cash grant has indeed been distributed and duly received by qualified beneficiaries," the Senate President said, noting that President Rodrigo Duterte's last weekly report to Congress was "insufficient."
The DSWD has disbursed P80 billion of the P100 billion allotted for the cash aid program for the month of April, according to Duterte's second weekly report submitted to the legislative last week.
"Nakukulangan ako sa report, hindi kumpleto. Kailangang malinaw sa aming mga mambabatas at sa publiko kung paano ibinahagi itong perang ito," Sotto said.
(I find the report insufficient, incomplete. They have to clarify to lawmakers and the public how they distributed the money.)
"There were no other details related to the distribution of the assistance, such as the total number of recipients, areas distributed and a breakdown of the amounts given to recipient barangays/local government units," his statement read.
A public disclosure of the cash aid beneficiaries and the system of distribution will also allow Congress to "identify possible loopholes or errors in the distribution system," he said.
Last week, the DSWD said it has given P65 billion to 1,228 local government units. The amount was distributed to 4 million out of 18 million poor families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.