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83 charged over ‘anomalies’ in COVID-19 subsidy distribution —Duterte’s report

A total of 83 officials and individuals have been criminally charged over alleged anomalies in the distribution of emergency cash assistance to low-income families affected by the COVID-19 crisis, President Rodrigo Duterte's latest report showed.

According to Duterte's ninth weekly report to Congress issued on Monday, 408 individuals have lodged complaints over these supposed anomalies as of May 22.

There are also individuals who have not yet been charged and are still being investigated, it added.

Duterte earlier ordered a P30,000 incentive for anyone who could provide information on any local government official who may be pocketing or misusing funds intended for the cash aid program.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has also issued a memorandum directing all its regional directors as well as regional directors of the Philippine National Police to receive, act on, and verify related complaints in their respective areas.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, around 18 million low-income households belonging to the informal sector should receive monthly emergency subsidies amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 in April and May.

Duterte's report stated that as of May 22, more than 17.5 million beneficiaries have already received their cash assistance, making up 97.35% of the total number of the target households.

Of this figure, 4.2 million are part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, while 13.2 million are non-4Ps beneficiaries. A total of 62,028 beneficiaries, meanwhile, are families whose household heads are transport network vehicle service and public utility vehicle drivers in Metro Manila.

Apart from emergency cash subsidy, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has also provided P393 million worth of relief assistance to affected families as of May 22, Duterte's report said.

Items provided to affected families include 927,135 family food packs, 215,500 ready-to-eat food, 10,858 sacks of rice, 17 boxes of sardines, 13 boxes of coffee, 10,698 hygiene kits, 811 sleeping kits, 329 family kits, 1,681 pieces of malong, 185 pieces of flexi mats, 1,046 laminated sacks, and 24 pieces of pillow.

As of May 25, a total of 14,319 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Philippines, with 873 deaths and 3,323 recoveries. — BM, GMA News