COA tells DSWD to clean list of social pension beneficiaries
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to clean its list of beneficiaries under the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens after anomalous payments were discovered.
The DSWD had used a total of P19.261 billion for 3,163,497 beneficiaries across the Philippines in 2018.
But state auditors who conducted a validation of the program found several deficiencies in various regions, including the inclusion of senior citizens who are already dead or receive other forms of pension.
The issues that COA said made the DSWD's master list unreliable include:
- Delayed payments and inclusion of deceased beneficiaries in the list (DSWD Central Office)
- At least 46 senior citizens included in the list were already receiving pension, 12 get support from family members or have regular income, and 89 hold non-regular or part-time jobs (DSWD National Capital Region)
- At least 1,206 non-eligible beneficiaries whose inclusion were blamed on faulty monitoring by local government units or LGUs (DSWD Western Visayas)
- Inclusion of senior citizens with pensions (DSWD Caraga)
Initiated under the Aquino administration in 2011, the DSWD program gives P500 a month to senior citizens who have no regular pension or source of income. The money is released quarterly.
COA recommended that the DSWD establish a "data sharing agreement" with other government agencies such as the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System to prevent the inclusion of senior citizens already receiving pension.
It also urged LGUs to help by submitting birth and death certificates for verification.
The DSWD said it will immediately fix its list to remove unqualified individuals and to address concerns from beneficiaries, particularly those who were delisted. – Rappler.com