DSWD claims no staff involved in ‘ayuda scam’

Apr. 16, 2024
Photo courtesy of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) XI

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region XI reported that their investigation showed none of their personnel had been involved in the alleged “ayuda scam” happening in Davao Region.

This was revealed by DSWD Regional Director Attorney Vanessa Goc-ong in a press conference on Monday.

The controversy started in January in a Senate inquiry when witnesses said that their cash benefits from the agency’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) were being mulcted by unidentified persons.

Goc-ong said they started their investigation in the last quarter of 2023 after hearing some complaints and had interviewed 20 percent of the total beneficiaries in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro.

Their probe, which they had submitted to their national office before January this year, showed no personnel from DSWD had been involved in mulcting beneficiaries’ cash aid.

“Definitely DSWD (is not involved). The complaint, it happened outside after the payout. DSWD is not involved, never involved even in one-peso wala pong involvement yung ating mga staff (not one of our staff has been involved with that),” Atty. Goc-ong explained.

The AICS program has 431,556 beneficiaries in Region 11 who have received a total of P2,420,880,428 in government assistance in the form of medical assistance, educational assistance, food assistance, financial assistance, burial transportation, and other support services.

Another allegation raised on DSWD was that AICS and another cash relief program for the unemployed, Tulong Pang-hanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD), were used to woo beneficiaries to sign for the so-called people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Goc-ong said no formal complaints have been filed in their agency on the use of AICS for politicking, but they are urging the public, especially beneficiaries to report such incidents.

The director added that they are strengthening their grievance mechanisms to ensure

“There is no formal complaint lodged with the agency, only reports. But in order to address the reports (we) strengthen the grievance (mechanism, we have our) hotline posted in conspicuous places (so that beneficiaries can report on) irregularities and (we can immediately address these issues),” she said. (davaotoday.com)

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