By Darwin Pesco
AT least 183 barangay (village) officials are being investigated for alleged anomalies in the distribution of the emergency cash assistance given by the government under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is conducting the investigation.
Año, however, said the identities of these village officials would not be disclosed while a probe was ongoing.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier offered a P30,000-reward to anyone who reports an official involved in corruption in the distribution of the financial aid.
Año said complaints flooded the hotlines set up by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“Binabalaan ko kayo, kung nag-iisip kayo na mangulimbat ng mga tulong na para sa mga kabarangay ninyo (I am warning you, if you are thinking of pocketing the money that is supposedly for your constituents), we will come after you,” he added.
The DILG has ordered the PNP and requested the National Bureau of Investigation to immediately investigate reports of graft and corruption in the distribution of SAP.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya encouraged the public to report any anomalous incidents such as splitting or reducing the amount a beneficiary should receive, falsification of documents and other corrupt practices to the nearest police station or DILG field office.
As of Monday, 1,265 out of 1,632 local government units (LGUs) beat the deadline on the distribution of the first tranche of SAP.
Año said the overall national payout rate was 90.86 percent.
The National Capital Region (Metro Manila) registered a pay-out rate of 85.13 percent. In the region, Caloocan City had the highest payout rate at 99 percent.
The top five performing regions were Region 13 (Caraga) with a 100-percent payout rate followed by Region 5 (Bicol) with 99.96 percent; Region 13 (Soccsksargen), 98.92 percent; Cordillera Administrative Region, 96.8 percent; and Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 96.47 percent.
Other regions that had above 90 percent payout rate were Region 3 (Central Luzon), Region 1 (Ilocos), Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), Region 4B (Mimaropa) and Region 10 (Northern Mindanao).
But Año said the cash distribution would continue.
“We still have the second tranche but I am certain that you will be more systematic, quicker, and more efficient this time because of the lessons that you have learned from the first,” he told local officials.
Meanwhile, Año said the DILG would start issuing show cause orders to the LGUs, which had “very poor performance” in the SAP distribution. (The Manila Times)