CEBU, Philippines — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-7 has filed two criminal cases and 12 administrative cases against barangay officials in Central Visayas in line with irregularities in the distribution of aid from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
This was disclosed by DILG-7 Director Leocadio Trovela during a live interview with the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas’ (OPAV).
Trovela said the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has filed cases before the prosecutor’s office in relation to complaints from Bohol and Negros Oriental.
Twelve complaints have also been referred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for validation, either for exclusion or inclusion of SAP beneficiaries. These include two from Bohol, one from Cebu Province, and nine from Cebu City.
Those whose complaints were found to be legitimate will receive P30,000 as promised by the President Rodrigo Duterte.
Upon Duterte’s order for investigation, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued a memorandum last May 12 directing the agency’s regional directors and the PNP to receive, act on, and verify related complaints in their areas of jurisdiction.
Trovela said DILG-7 will continue to accommodate complaints via its legal team created purposely to handle the complaints. This week, the team received 47 complaints – six from Bohol, three from Negros Oriental, one from Siquijor, nine from Cebu province, and the rest from Cebu City.
Of the 47 complaints, 38 were referred to the DILG-7 Field Office for verification, including the 28 complaints from Cebu City, five from Cebu province, three from Bohol, and two from Negros Oriental.
DILG-7 also forwarded 12 verified complaints to the Office of the DILG Secretary Eduardo Anio. One verified complaint is from Bohol, three are from Cebu province, two are from Negros Oriental, five are from Cebu City, and one is from Siquijor.
The legal office at the DILG central office would determine if the complaints are valid and submit these to the Office of the Special Assistant to the President for further action.
Eight complaints were referred to the CIDG, which included three from Bohol, three from Cebu province, one from Negros Oriental, and one from Cebu City.
These complaints involved, among others, splitting of SAP, government officials pocketing or misuse of cash funds, and malicious inclusion of beneficiaries.
The complaints are confidential pending further verification.
Despite these complaints, OPAV Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard Gonzales believes majority of the barangay captains in the region show that they are doing their jobs well, pointing out that there are only 47 complaints compared to the 3,000 captains, and only two cases were filed due to splitting.
“The 3,000 barangay captains in Central Visayas, except for the two who are facing criminal cases, should be congratulated for doing a job well done,” he said.
He said barangay captains in the region also acted as frontliners in the fight against COVID-19 and participated in contact tracing, among others.
Meanwhile, the DSWD reiterated the importance of validation in the continued implementation of SAP.
The agency said validation is performed to check the eligibility of the beneficiaries and to see if there were duplication in the provision of the aid from DSWD and other agencies required to provide assistance under SAP.
DSWD said it is aware of the needs of low-income Filipino families whose members still cannot work due to the community quarantine. This is why its goal is to deliver the second tranche of SAP immediately.
The department emphasized, however, that it is necessary to complete the validation process before the release of the aid.
It has already started validation in Central Visayas.
To help fast track the process, DSWD-7 Assistant Director for operations Shalaine Marie Lucero through the Standards Development Section (SDS) has invited Social Welfare and Development Agencies (SWDA) to volunteer for the work.
“We really appreciate your willingness to spend your valuable time for the validation of SAP for free,” Lucero said during an online conference.
The online conference was held to brief volunteers about SAP, grievance mechanism, qualifications.
The proposed validation team will be composed of a DSWD staff member, a volunteer from the LGU, and a volunteer from the community like a barangay health worker or parent leader.
The volunteers may choose to be assigned in the validation or encoding of the SAP form. They will be endorsed to the mayors to be recognized as partners or part of the validation team.
Lucero said the volunteers will be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and only those who have attended the online orientation or endorsed by DSWD will be accepted.
The volunteers can work at their preferred time and place of volunteering.
As of yesterday, the following SWDAs have offered to volunteer: Holistic Community and Initiative Incorporated – Dumaguete; International Care Ministries Foundation Incorporated in Dumaguete; Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated (RAFI); Pagtambayayong- A foundation for mutual aid Incorporated; Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation – Integrated Development Center Incorporated; Arcanys Early Learning Foundation Incorporated; Children of Asia; and Visayas Primary Healthcare Services, Inc.
DSWD has appealed to LGUs to expedite the encoding and transmittal of their complete liquidation reports to the DSWD Field Offices (FOs).
The DSWD Field Offices will conduct the validation process only after an LGU has submitted the data required in full, considering that validation is conducted in the city, municipal, provincial, and regional levels.
After this, the DSWD Central Office will understake a deduplication process in which the names of beneficiaries and their family members will be matched to list from the Social Security System (SSS), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
“The names of ‘left-outs’ or waitlisted or those qualified but were not included in the first tranche of the assistance will also be cross-matched with the lists of the said agencies,” DSWD said. JMO (FREEMAN)