By Masiding Noor Yahya
MARAWI CITY: The Bangsamoro government has sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for alleged anomalies involving elected local officials and civil servants in the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash aid in the autonomous region.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, the region’s minister of the interior and local government, said BARMM has sought NBI help determine whether the complaints that some local village officials in cahoots with social workers have been “cutting” the SAP aid intended for the poor affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.
Sinarimbo told reporters the regional leadership wanted the issue settled with the help of the NBI and other investigating bodies of the government. “This matter should be investigated and cleared before everybody,” he said on Saturday.
Complaints have been mounting and involved mostly barangay officials who demanded cuts from the P5,000 amelioration fund given to indigents across the region.
There are also reports many qualified beneficiaries were not given the cash aid because they were not friends of the village officials. “The irony is they gave people who are already dead,” said a village resident who prefers unidentified.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier warned village officials against taking advantage of the huge funds supposedly intended for the poor families most affected by the lockdown due to measures preventing the spread of Covid-19.
He offered a P30,000 reward for anyone who can provide proof that corrupt officials “dipped” their fingers in the SAP distribution.
Meanwhile, the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in BARMM (CIDG-BARMM) also started accepting complaints of anomalies in the SAP distribution.
Police Colonel James Gulmatico, CIDG-BARMM chief, said those who have complaints may send the information through text hotline number 0998-598-8027.
Gulmatico assured all information will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. (MNY)