A SENATOR on Monday filed two separate resolutions urging the appropriate Senate committees to probe the supposed lapses of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in implementing the governments conditional cash grant program and pandemic financial aid distribution.  

Senator Leila M. de Lima, who is seeking reelection, filed Senate Resolutions 1000 and 1001 to determine if the targeted beneficiaries did receive the assistance and to explore possible revisions to the law to improve implementation. 

The conditional cash grant program, which has been institutionalized through a law and intended as a poverty-alleviation measure that also involves improvements in health and education, is known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).  

Information recently gathered from some beneficiaries indicates that there were possible lapses in the implementation of the program, including, but not limited to, delayed monthly financial benefits as well as reduction in the amounts received in many areas covered by the Program nationwide,Ms. De Lima said in a statement.  

Moreover, the senator said the proposed investigation will help allay public fears and dispel rumors that the legislation is being used for politicking.  

This issue needs to be thoroughly investigated to protect the beneficiaries of 4Ps. They should not fall prey to fake news and go through concerns about the benefits of 4Ps because of the self-interest of some who want to stay in power,Ms. De Lima said.  

As for Senate Resolution 1001, the senator said it is important to determine whether DSWD is capable of delivering its services and programs, which has become more crucial amid a pandemic. 

The pandemic response cash aid is called social amelioration program (SAP). 

Given the DSWDs crucial role in poverty alleviation, it can ill-afford any setbacks or inefficiencies in the implementation of its key social protection program,she said.   

It behooves the Senate to ascertain whether the DSWD still has the capacity to ensure that none of (the) programs are compromised by reason of institutional weaknesses brought about by the various duties it has been tasked to fulfill above and beyond its current mandate,she added. 

The DSWD has been flagged several times by the Commission on Audit (COA), said Ms. De Lima.  

In the COA 2020 report, P780 million of the agencys funds were unutilized due to an insufficient validation process.These were allocated for cash assistance to pandemic-hit Filipinos and SAP overpayments to more than 20,000 beneficiaries. 

State auditors also flagged DSWDs oversight in the implementation of its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation, which resulted to deficiencies of around P722.8 million and certain inappropriately documentedDSWD funds for former armed rebels. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan