MANILA — Former secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Judy Taguiwalo, on Tuesday refuted insinuations that she diverted funds from one of the department’s programs to the New People’s Army (NPA).
She also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte not to legitimize the baseless accusations leveled against her by members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) that rejected her.
Duterte on Monday said reports had reached him that funds from the conditional cash transfer program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) were diverted to the NPA.
Taguiwalo said it is impossible to channel 4Ps funds to the NPA.
“For the record and for the president’s own awareness, not a single peso of the 4Ps program passed through my hands,” she said in a statement, pointing out that the 4Ps funds are directly coursed through the Landbank and its conduits, which then make direct pay-outs to Pantawid beneficiaries.
“All financial transactions involving the 4Ps program are recorded and COA (Commission on Audit) regularly audits the program,” she said.
The former social welfare chief lamented that insinuations are being made to justify her rejection by Duterte’s allies in Congress.
She said that had the president’s allies questioned her regarding the issue during the CA hearings, or even during the congressional deliberations on the 2018 budget, she would have given them “answers that are easily verifiable”.
“When I first arrived in the DSWD, among my first declarations and actions was to say that the 4Ps program would not be expanding. The 4.4 million beneficiary-households of 4Ps did not increase. Members are from the DSWD Listahanan based on a nationwide assessment of the poor. The list was already in place when I became secretary,” Taguiwalo added.
She said that as far as she knows, those who were added to the 4Ps were families of soldiers killed or wounded in action who have children aged 0 to 18 years.
This, she noted, was in compliance with the president’s order.
Taguiwalo also said that as former DSWD chief, she lived up to the President’s instruction to ensure that the department provides prompt service to the poor, regardless of political affiliation and without corruption.
“I have tried my best to ensure that the department fulfills its mandate of protecting and promoting the rights of the poor and to shield it from becoming an instrument of corruption and patronage,” she said.
“I have done my best as a member of the president’s Cabinet and his government, and served the people with humility and full transparency. The least I asked of him is to not legitimize baseless accusations against me.”
The DSWD’s 4Ps provides cash grants to poor families who have children 0 to 18 years old as a form of investment on the children’s health and education.
The program provides every child PHP300 to PHP500 a month and the parents, PHP500 and rice subsidy in the form of cash. In return, the parents are required to attend the monthly family development sessions, bring their children to health centers for check-up and immunization, and send them to school. PNA-northboundasia.com