Nograles warns LGUs to follow guidelines on cash aid distribution or face sanctions

Published April 12, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

Local government officials will have to give a refund to the national government if they distribute cash aid to ineligible beneficiaries under the two-month emergency subsidy program, a Palace official said Sunday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (Photo from Karlo Nograles  / Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (Photo from Karlo Nograles / Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the local officials may also face criminal, civil and administrative liabilities in case of fraud and other irregularities in the distribution of financial aid to low income families despite the refund.

Excluded from the emergency subsidy program are elected and appointed government officials or personnel contracted in memorandum of agreement, contract of service, job order or other similar schemes in national government, government corporations and local government units; employees in the private sector or those in the formal economy; retired persons receiving pension; and families with independent financial capacity.

Nograles issued the warning after reminding local government units to follow the guidelines on the implementation of the emergency subsidy program since these are subject to audit rules.

“Ito ay subject to COA rules, Commission on Audit. Gustuhin man namin, hindi natin puwedeng baliktarin ang mga rules ng COA. So dito tayo magkakaroon ng problema kapag hindi ninyo ginawa ang anuman ang nakasulat dito, pag in-audit kayo ng COA, kayo mamomoblema (These are subject to Commission on Audit rules. Even if we want to, we cannot overturn the rules of COA. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you will face problems once COA audits you),” he said during a virtual press conference Sunday.

“Kung hindi tama ang pag-distribute ninyo, the LGU is constrained to refund kung mayroon man pagkakamali ang LGUs sa pagbibigay ng kwarta and refund does not absolve you from any criminal, civil or administrative liability. maliwanag ‘yan (If the distribution is not properly conducted, the LGU is constrained to refund if there is a mistake in giving the funds. And refund does not absolve you from any criminal, civil or administrative liability. That’s clear),” he said.

President Duterte earlier launched the emergency subsidy program for 18 million low income families to help them cope with strict quarantine measures implemented due the coronavirus pandemic. For the months of April and May, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has been assigned to distribute subsidy between P5,000 and P8,000 to the target beneficiaries with the help of local government units.

According to Nograles, the local government units must forge a memorandum of understanding with the DSWD to facilitate the transfer of funds for the subsidy program.

He said the DSWD will validate the list of people given subsidy by the local government units within 15 days after distribution. If the beneficiary turns out be ineligible, he said the local government units will be asked to explain such discrepancy.

“You will be constrained to reimburse ‘yung mga pinagbibigyan niya na hindi qualified. Tapos magkaroon pa ng investigation for determination of administrative, civil and criminal liability (You will be constrained to reimburse for giving money to those not qualified. There will also be an investigation for determination of administration, civil and criminality liability),” he said.

“LGUs are constrained to follow what is written in the guidelines,” he added.

The government meantime has put in place a grievance mechanism and appeals system to address any complaints about the subsidy distribution.

Nograles said concerned families can file an appeal before the DSWD, which is mandated to check if they are indeed qualified for the subsidy program.