Digital aid distribution to curb corruption

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    Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III recommended the digital and direct distribution of future subsidies to intended beneficiaries to minimize corruption.

    Dominguez, in a meeting of select members of the Cabinet convened by President Dutete in Davao City Monday night, recommended to adopt the model used in the Small Wage Subsidy Program (SBWS) implemented earlier by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Social Security System (SSS).

    He said the three imperatives involved in the program was the digitalization of the entire process from application to distribution of the subsidy; the direct distribution of the aid through banks or electronic wallet payment schemes; and the adoption of close administrative oversight of the program, which includes tapping the expertise of the private sector to iron out possible implementation hitches as quickly as possible.

    He said these imperatives had made the SBWS “largely efficient and effective.”

    He added these methods minimize chances for corruption and human intervention.

    President Dutete endorsed the SBWS model adding if certain mistakes still happen in future subsidy programs, it would be due to incorrect data that would be encoded by the beneficiaries themselves.

    “What is good about this model is there is no human intervention in the transactions, just machines and the money will go directly to the beneficiary. The money is deposited by government to the bank then to the beneficiary…there is no intermediary and there is no intervention of any kind especially on people, it goes directly to the beneficiary,” Duterte said.

    Dominguez said under the SBWS, the government used the list of private sector employees from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the SSS in distributing the P8,000 per month subsidy which amounted to P41 billion that was distributed to 3.1 million employees of private small businesses that were affected by the work stoppages resulting from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

    SAP from DSWD

    Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista, in the same meeting, said his department has almost completed the distributed of the P207.6 billion allotted to them for the emergency cash assistance under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

    “The DSWD, along with our payout partners, both in the direct and digital schemes, have been working hard to ensure that the subsidy be distributed to its intended recipients. We remain committed in this undertaking to secure the 100 percent accomplishment rate,” Bautista said.

    DSWD undersecretary Glen Paje, in a briefing on Tuesday afternoon, said close to P80 billion had been distributed under the second tranche of SAP which had benefitted 13.3 million or 94.3 percent of the targeted 14.1 million poor families.

    Paje said DSWD had given the local government units nationwide one week to complete the encoding of 97,395 social amelioration contract forms and the validation and completion of data covering 154,326 beneficiaries.

    Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in his report, said close to one million workers have not been given aid under the cash subsidy program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) due to insufficient funds.

    He said that under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), 1.6 million private sector employees but only 662, 213 workers had been given a one-time P5,000 aid while 183,000 were forwarded to the SBWS.

    “Hence, close to 1 million workers have not been served,” Bello said.

    He said a total of P12.4 billion had been distributed by DOLE.