By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday said it will pay Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) some P82.72 million in unpaid service fees in connection with the implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), in 2013 and prior years based on the directive of the Commission on Audit (COA).
DSWD spokesperson Arlene Dumlao said the agency submitted a letter to COA assuring state auditors that they will comply with the COA’s Jan. 27 decision signed by COA chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Roland C. Pondoc.
“The DSWD will adhere to the decision of COA regarding the money claim of the LBP for unpaid service fees,” she told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
The COA granted the petition for money claim filed by the LBP in November, 2015, after the DSWD supposedly failed to pay service fees of accredited CCT conduits covering 2013 and prior years. However, it reduced the LBP’s money claim from P87, 048, 915.00 to P82, 719,496.00.
On July 14, 2011, the DSWD and Landbank entered into a memorandum of agreement authorizing LBP to “identify, negotiate, accredit, and enter into separate agreements with qualified CCT conduits to service CCT grants for distribution to CCT beneficiaries.”
Under the agreement, the LBP was supposed to get service fees from DSWD within five working days after receipt of payment from the latter.
Reports said the LBP submitted its billings for the unpaid service fees to the DSWD in 2013, two years before it filed its petition for money claim.
According to COA, “the DSWD processed and prepared the corresponding disbursement vouchers, but was not able to pay the amounts to the CCT conduits for being unbooked obligations as the same were incurred in 2013 and prior years.”
In its answer dated January 11, 2016, the DSWD admitted that it has “obligation to pay LBP” for the service fees, but is prohibited from paying under Republic Act Nos. 10352 and 10633.
Under the two laws, state auditors should first validate the unbooked obligations before the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) authorizes payment.