Reward offered against officials pocketing gov’t cash assistance

Reward offered against officials pocketing gov’t cash assistance
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 4, 2020. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, May 4, offered a P30,000 reward to anyone who can report local officials stealing financial aid meant for poor Filipino families affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The President made the reward offer after hearing reports that a certain barangay kagawad was arrested for allegedly pocketing almost half of the cash assistance under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), which was intended for low-income households.

In a public address, President Duterte asked local officials to choose honest individuals in handing over money to poor households and to look into the misappropriated funds for COVID-19 response.

“Mayors naman, kindly look into the people that you have commissioned to do the distribution doon sa pera,” the President said.

“Mahirap na nga, ikaw may trabaho ka na, Kagawad ka ang p***** i** kukunin mo pa yung pera ng mahirap. I’d like to presume that you were elected because your constituents find you to be a man of integrity, honesty and that you can perform,” he added.

President Duterte earlier warned local officials engaged in corruption that they could face detention if proven guilty.

People tasked to distribute money, food, and relief goods should do their work “to a tee” or risk being detained, he said.

The government will have “zero tolerance” against corruption and will go after officials stealing public funds, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during an inter-agency task force meeting.

The public could reach government hotline 8888 to report anomalies involving SAP funds, he said.

“’Pag napatunayan po ‘yung inyong reklamo sa korapsyon laban sa mga lokal na opisyales na kinukurakot iyong mga ayuda na ipinamimigay ng gobyerno, 30,000 pesos po ang pabuya na ibibigay ng ating Presidente sa inyo,” Roque said.

Poor Filipinos, under the national government’s Social Amelioration Program in response to the COVID-19 crisis, are given cash assistance ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 during the lockdown to provide for their basic necessities.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law, the government set aside a P200-billion emergency subsidy for about 18 million low-income Filipino families.

Aside from the emergency subsidies allotted to 18 million poor households, President Duterte decided to grant cash aid to an additional five million families.— PND / pcoo.gov.ph

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