DOLE: Wrong contact info led to millions in unclaimed workers' aid

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2021 11:12 AM

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MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment on Tuesday said it struggled to reach workers who were eligible for government aid, leading to P22.432 million in unclaimed aid. 

In its latest audit report released Monday, the Commission on Audit said the P22.432 million in unclaimed aid under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) programs remains in the possession of money remittance centers.

DOLE Finance Management Service Director Warren Miclat said the government could not distribute the funds because the eligible beneficiaries sometimes gave wrong contact information. 

"Yung mga financial assistance namin pinapasok yan sa money remittance providers, example yung mga Lhullier, Cebuana Lhullier, Western Union, and sa money remittance center will contact the beneficiaries which DOLE submitted to them with their corresponding mobile contact numbers," he explained on ANC’s “Rundown.”

“Some beneficiaries kasi, minsan nagpalit sila ng cellphone numbers, and then hindi sila ma-locate, and then regional offices of our department keep on exhausting efforts to locate them."

Miclat said that the department has protocol for contacting replacement beneficiaries if the original intended recipients cannot be reached despite repeated attempts.

In its report, the COA also noted that out of the utilized funds for CAMP, TUPAD AND AKAP, a total of P1.023 million were given as excessive or multiple payments to 213 beneficiaries.

Miclat said this issue had already been addressed.

“Because there are beneficiaries who claimed financial assistance from other government agencies and then later nung na-found out na, ni-replace na po sila so therefore, hindi na rin po siya naging duplicate or multiple beneficiaries,” he explained.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he is wondering why the COA raised these issues in its annual report, as these were already addressed in a June 1 exit conference between DOLE and COA officials.

“The COA personalities presented these issues. We answered them, and, after this, COA gave us the most unqualified rating position. That is the highest rating that COA can give to any agency.”

“Kaya nagtataka kami kasi parang pinili lang ilabas eh. Pinili lang yung issues raised during the exit conference” he said.