DSWD clarifies COA findings on unclaimed Pantawid Pamilya cash grants

Following the recent publication of the Commission on Audit (COA) findings that there are 1,889,994 unclaimed cash grants accounts amounting to P1.206 billion under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified that based on the report of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), there were only  124,845 accounts with unwithdrawn balances totaling to P1,077,758,539.51 as of December 2017.

“After closely coordinating with the LBP on the validation of the accounts being questioned, the Pantawid Pamilya – National Program Management Office (NPMO) said that about 95.5% (1,806,798 vs 1,889,994) of the accounts have balances less than P100 which automatically cannot be withdrawn by beneficiaries,” explained DSWD Secretary Virginia N. Orogo.

Furthermore, the DSWD only considers accounts to be inactive and non-moving if no withdrawals had been done for more than 180 days.  Given this parameter, only 83,196 accounts with the amount of P708,751,052.51 are considered as non-moving accounts.  The said number represents only 3.11% of the total 2.67 million beneficiaries included in the audit findings of the COA.

“To declare that the holders of the accounts were not in dire need of assistance and do not really belong to the poorest of the poor is an unfair assumption,” Sec. Orogo affirmed.

In addition, she explained that there are other factors why the accounts of beneficiaries are unmoving. These include the following:

  • Delay in the processing of change of grantee request of beneficiaries;
  • Delay in the transfer from old accounts to new accounts;
  • Unreported damaged, lost, or captured cash cards of beneficiaries;
  • Replacement of lost or damaged case cards of LBP takes about 3 months to one year;
  • Beneficiaries who transferred residences without informing their municipal or city links fail to claim their cash cards at the LBP; and
  • Cash cards whose grantees already work abroad or are already deceased can no longer be claimed, thus accumulating the cash grants.

“For instance, the issuance of new cards is done by LBP and has a timeline for the release of the card. Not to mention the validation of the identity of the client with the Pantawid Pamilya Project Management Office. Such may take time to accomplish affecting the withdrawal of cash grants,” Sec. Orogo cited.

As of August 7, the NPMO also reported that 19,519 accounts amounting to P176,902,948.03 were already withdrawn, while 12,841 accounts are for closure since the members were either delisted, exited, waived, and or transferred to new accounts.

Some 5,236 accounts are still awaiting replacement of LBP cash cards in the amount of P43,091,520.21 while 1,629 accounts with the amount of P21,049,238.06 have issues on withdrawal such as lost, damaged, or brought by family members who do not know the pin number.

Currently, the NPMO is still awaiting submission of validation results of 43,903 accounts in the amount of P379,131,435.30.

“The  DSWD ensures that the poorest of the poor are given the appropriate response, monitors each account of the beneficiaries and that the resources of the government are utilized accordingly.  In doing this, we are taking into consideration the needs of the Pantawid Pamilya household beneficiaries by validating their circumstances,” Sec. Orogo ended.