Manila, Philippines – Over PHP22.43 million cash aid have yet to be claimed by the affected beneficiaries due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in their latest report.
According to COA, the total amount of P22.432 million in cash aid is still waiting to be claimed by a total of 2,500 beneficiaries consisting of 1,600 local workers and 900 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
They said that the program is under the Bayanihan 1 or Bayanihan to Heal as One-Act.
The financial assistance of P22.43 million comes from the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), which gives employees Php 5,000 one-time cash, and the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP), which gives displaced OFWs of Php 10,000 or ($200 USD). Minimum-wage jobs up to 30 days is also available under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program.
The breakdown is as follows:
- Php8.24M – DOLE CAMP
- Php9.05M – DOLE AKAP
- Php5.15M – DOLE TUPAD
As per State auditors, the Department of Labor should continue to notify claimants of unclaimed benefits. COA said that DOLE should require an “immediate refund of the amounts intended for the unknown beneficiaries” if it was no longer possible to claim the assistance.
In a press briefing on Monday, August 16, DOLE Spokesperson Rolly Francia claimed that some recipients did not get the SMS message with the reference number needed for claiming at remittance centers. He said that this was one of the limitations of the selected way of distribution.
According to Spokesperson Francia, most of the beneficiaries have changed their phone numbers, or others may have used their phone numbers to apply for cash aid. They may also have lost their cell phones, he said.
To quote from Francia;
“That’s the only means of communication we have between the remittance centers and the recipients. If [their phones] got lost, we have no way of tracking them.”
“We don’t have a choice but to return the funds [to the Treasury] that we could not remit.”
Francia advised anyone who has applied for financial aid but has yet to receive their cash aid should contact the Department of Labor’s field offices or remittance centers in their respective location.
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