15 July 2016
Sec. Taguiwalo welcomes COA report on P6.3 B unliquidated CCT funds; says findings will be used in review of all DSWD programs

In a press statement released by the Office of Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Secretary Judy Taguiwalo welcomed the recent Commission on Audit report stating that there are P6.3 billion in unliquidated funds for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps) scheme.

Sec. Taguiwalo said that she and members of her DSWD transition team will use the observations made by the COA and consider them in their on-going review of DSWD programs, particularly the Conditional Cash Transfer program.

“Although the COA report indicated that the amounts remained either idle or unliquidated with Landbank and its conduits, and other government agencies, the Department is alarmed by the magnitude of the amounts involved because they are equal to more than 10% of the budget of the DSWD,” she said.

She explained that she and her team have earlier discussed this matter with career officials at DSWD. “We were made aware that the unliquidated amounts are lodged in with agencies that are not under DSWD control, like the Land Bank of the Philippines, CHED and some LGUs. We will, therefore, explore more effective means to get their utmost cooperation and compliance to achieve our common goals,” she said.

One of the mechanisms that DSWD is exploring is the use of a fund intercept, such as the “IRA intercept” for DSWD partner LGUs or a similar budget intercept for other agencies like CHED, and a penalty clause for Land bank and its conduits should they fail to liquidate DSWD advances to these entities.

Sec. Taguiwalo said that her administration will ensure that the value of the public funds under its custody is not eroded due to any inefficiencies or misuse.

As part of the transition process at DSWD, a comprehensive review of the financial system is being considered to evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness in implementing the DSWD’s programs, including the CCT.

Sec. Taguiwalo said that “consistent with the Duterte administration’s guiding principle, my administration hereby re-affirms its commitment as custodian of public resources and utilize same solely for the people’s interests.”

The CCT was the previous Aquino administration’s flagship antipoverty program, and its budget was P62.3 billion. The COA reported that as of Dec. 31, 2015, DSWD secured seven foreign loans amounting to P90.03 billion to implement five projects, three of which are still ongoing, including the CCT.

In the meantime, the World Bank approved a new $450-million (about P21-billion) loan to the Philippines to augment funding for the project in the next four years.

Among the comments the COA made was that there were recurring deficiencies in the implementation of 4Ps resulting in delayed delivery of assistance to rightful beneficiaries or unnecessary holding of idle funds” by Landbank and its conduits.

Payments to qualified beneficiaries suffered delays by 12 to 15 months due to delayed processing and release of checks or absence of partner conduits, among others, it said. 

President Duterte honored at San Beda alumni reception
The San Beda Law Alumni Association hosted on Thursday a testimonial dinner reception at Club Filipino, San Juan City in honor of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the first Philippine President who graduated from San Beda College.

Among those present during the reception were former president Fidel V. Ramos, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, San Beda Law Alumni Association Chair Avelino Cruz, former Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr., and former Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chair Winston Ginez, and many others.

President Duterte, who was inaugurated as the 16th president of the country, came from batch 1972 of the San Beda College of Law. He passed the bar exam during the same year.

The President graduated from Santa Ana Elementary School in Davao City, and finished his secondary education at Holy Cross College of Digos City.

In 1968, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the Lyceum of the Philippines in Manila.

Prior to becoming President, PRRD served as Davao City mayor for 23 years. He also became the city’s Vice Mayor as well as Congressman.

The President ran under the platform of carrying out real change in the country by eliminating illegal drugs and corruption, as well as uplifting the living conditions of poor Filipinos. PND

Palace: Right response, right time on the West Philippine Sea issue
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that inspite the awarding of a favorable decision on the West Philippine Sea dispute, the government is still studying the decision on what should be the next steps regarding the matter.

“We are not keeping our cards close to our chest. We are really thinking through the right response but the initial statement should be some time after Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay comes back from Mongolia,” Abella said in a press briefing on Friday.

According to Abella, Yasay represented the country in the ongoing Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM) in Mongolia.

After the Arbitral Court handed down its decision, fishermen have tried to fish in the disputed areas. But Abella said, “We are still saying that the fishermen are not prevented. However, they are cautioned to proceed with care.”

On the matter of the Executive Order on Freedom of Information, Abella said the President is reviewing the draft before signing the document.

On the question regarding the “narco mayors”. Abella said he will look into the matter so that it may be available in soonest possible time. PND