The House Independent Bloc yesterday pushed for a financial and performance audit of the Aquino administration’s pro-poor programs to ensure that every single centavo is transparently and properly spent to alleviate the plight of the poor.
Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who leads the group and a senatorial candidate, said it is about time for the Aquino administration to lay down its cards as far as its poverty alleviation programs are concerned.
“The Aquino administration has been consistently boasting of supposed gains or expanded coverages in anti-poverty efforts. But all we get to hear are numbers. Anybody can cite huge figures anytime for what he or she has supposedly done,” Romualdez said.
“So once and for all, let’s see how many people are indeed behind those numbers. It’s time to find out if the numbers and figures match with reality, or are just hallucinations of concerned government officials,” Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association, said.
He challenged the Department of Social Welfare and Development to produce records of disbursements for the Conditional Cash Transfer program for the last four years.
He noted that the Aquino government has been increasing the CCT budget without coming up with a detailed accounting of such funds.
“Never has there been a detailed public disclosure of where, to whom and on what have CCT funds gone to. So what’s are our assurance that the money is indeed being spent on the program alone and not on other things like preparations for the administration candidates’ campaigns for the elections,” Romualdez said.
“If they can’t or don’t have complete records, they should show solid and convincing proofs that the funds have not been spent for the poor,” he added.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development has been implementing the CCT program to provide financial assistance to poor families since 2008. (Charissa M. Luci)