DA-7: Gov’t cash aid probe to also look into erring LGU agri officers
CORTES, Bohol May 31 (PIA) — From barangay and municipal officials including social workers, investigations into the anomalies in the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and other related government cash assistance has also put the crosshairs on the agricultural officers in local government units.
Municipal agriculture officers (MAO) who allowed unqualified persons in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) will also be looked into as the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has assumed the investigations into the alleged anomalous listing of unqualified beneficiaries for the government’s emergency cash assistance.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Salvador Diputado revealed this during the recent Kapihan sa PIA which tackled the agency’s Rice Farmers’ Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program which it implemented together with Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
The government is also channeling RFFA emergency assistance funds to DA and LBP as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board are also implementing their versions of the SAP.
While SAP allocates P6,000 to every family beneficiary and DOLE has P5,000 in its COVID Adjustment Measured Program or the daily wage for 10 days to informal workers in its Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa mga displaced at disadvantaged workers (TUPAD) Barangay KO Bahay Ko program, the LTFRB gives P5,000 for displaced public transport drivers.
For small farmers, the government has also released P5,000 from the provisions of the Rice Tarrification Act, the basis of which would be rice farmers actively tilling half a hectare to two hectares of farmlands, as they are listed in the national database of rice farmers through the RSBSA.
A registry system filled-out by registering farmers and agriculture sector workers as aided by MAO, the list has also become the basis for the beneficiaries of government crop insurance system from calamities.
A list created by the MAO, Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Council, and respective barangay chairman for validation, the RSBSA has also become controversial especially with the release of the P5,000 unconditional cash transfer.
Diputado said the list has included four people in the same family, some MAOs, or wives of the MAO.
He said there are even mayors who allegedly forced MAOs to put names in the list, so they, too, can receive the government’s assistance.
On this, Diputado said the DA Secretary has instructed to file the appropriate charges against erring MAOs.
To rectify the list and make sure government resources go to where these are needed, Diputado said they have sent communications to local chief executives so they can check the list and take out those who are in there but did not qualify.
As to the erring agricultural officials, Diputado said they will prosecute those who adulterated the RSBSA list. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)