MANILA, Philippines – Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, consider this a warning.
Senator Miriam Defense Santiago wants heads – plural – to roll over the P5 billion ($115,000*) unliquidated cash advances for the department's Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, the Aquino government's flagship anti-poverty project.
“Our public funds keep ending up either stolen or misused. I aim to rise from my sickbed when budget deliberations in the Senate come. I will not let this corruption pass without heads rolling,” Santiago said in a press statement sent to reporters.
She filed a resolution calling for the investigation of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhlPost), which the Commission on Audit (COA) reported to have accumulated P5 billion in unliquidated cash advances from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
COA said these unliquidated funds "exposed these funds to malversation, theft, or other risks."
Santiago said DSWD and Phlpost should explain what happened to the P5 billion cash advances supposedly for CCT beneficiaries in nearly 10,000 municipalities.
Santiago said DSWD is either "lackadaisical" in implementing the CCT program or it is "complicit" with the abuse of the funds.
“These monetary conduits should be investigated for their failure in executing one of the administration’s flagship programs. I would not be surprised if PhlPost is not the only monetary conduit at fault,” Santiago said.
She said the "inefficiency" of the CCT program shows the government's "failure" in bringing "inclusive growth" to the poor.
“The President’s people made him look like a fool by convincing him that the CCT program is a success. The President even mentioned it in his recent SONA,” Santiago said.
*$1 = P43.6