Press Release
May 25, 2020

Villar to DSWD & NEDA: Identify All Beneficiaries of Government Cash Aid

After her public apology, Senator Cynthia Villar is still asking the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to once and for all identify all the beneficiaries of the government's cash aid since there seems to be a confusion in the classification of income classes that caused the discrepancy in the figures presented to the senators during the session of the Senate's Committee of the Whole last May 19.

"Even if I have issued an apology about my remarks, I am still waiting for an explanation from the DSWD and NEDA about my inquiry to them to clearly identify the recipients or beneficiaries of the government's cash aid. I found some inconsistencies and discrepancies in the figures they presented," said Villar.

To recall, Villar asked DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista how the department came up with the 18 million beneficiaries it identified in its report, which supposedly represent 82 percent of the population. Definitely the 59% earning 19,000/month and below are included.

  • 22% belonging to the poor or unemployed

  • 37% those with low income or earning below PhP19,000 which include the daily wage earners and the minimum wage earners.

The senator asked DSWD and NEDA to provide her and the other senators a written explanation, which she is yet to receive. She wants to clarify also if other income classes were included among the beneficiaries and which in particular are these. She cited that the middle income class is further divided into three categories:

  • lower middle income (earning between PhP19,000 and PhP38,000);

  • middle middle income (between PhP38,000 and PhP67,000); both categories are 26% of the population and

  • upper middle income (between PhP67,000 to PhP114,000) who are 13% of the population

"They have to disclose who the beneficiaries are. I have no problem if they included the middle income earners as long as they are qualified. The intended beneficiaries should be the ones to receive the cash aid and figures should add up," said Villar.

She also wants to know how the other beneficiaries were identified since the only available list is of people under the 4Ps or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the government which is 4.5 million families.The DSWD Secretary admitted that they don't have a list besides 4Ps and they have "empowered" the local government units (LGUs) to identify the other beneficiaries.

"There are so many people who have been complaining that they did not receive any cash aid. How did the local government and barangay officials identified the beneficiaries not determined by the DSWD? We want that disclosed so people will understand if they are among the intended beneficiaries or not," the senator said.

According to Villar, senators have oversight functions and they need to monitor disbursement of government funds. Thus, the Senate Committee of the Whole regularly conducts regular briefings and meetings with the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force or IATF. "There is the so-called check and balance between the executive and the legislative branches of the government. I would be remiss in my mandate as a senator if I will not inquire about or question some government actions or policies," Villar cited.

She further cited that government resources are not infinite and will run out sooner or later. "The end of the pandemic is not yet in sight. Thus, the long-term sustainability of funds is important."

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