Senator Alan urges victims, witnesses to help end ‘Ayuda Scam’

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday called on victims and witnesses of the “Ayuda Scam” to come forward and provide hard evidence that could help put an end to the scheme that occurred in some areas in Mindanao late last year.

“Mr. Chair, I would like to support your hearing. I would also like to ask the question whether you are willing to expand it if additional witnesses will come here regarding other areas,” Cayetano told Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chair Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa during the investigation on January 23 over the matter that has reportedly already victimized at least 67 individuals.

The scam uses an illegal mechanism under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Program.

Cayetano, who was the main proponent of providing P10,000 assistance to poor Filipino families during the COVID-19 pandemic, commended the people working hard behind the rollout of economic relief across the nation.

“I’ll address myself to the DSWD, LGUs, and to the public – marami talaga ang natutulungan ng ayuda especially during the pandemic. Many LGUs and DSWD workers are working hard and sacrificing, and even members of Congress, minsan pati yung sila pa ang bumubunot [ng pera] eh,” he said.

However, he said there is a reality on the ground where people scheme and rob the people of assistance.

“In reality, may rumors talaga [ang scam]. Minsan totoo, minsan hindi. [Nakakalungkot kasi] if you have 8, 9, 10 na maayos ang pagbibigay ng ayuda, pero y’ung isa na may kalokohan, apektado lahat,” he said.

Cayetano said this is the reason the committee should find out the truth on whether or not there had been legitimate or transparent deductions in the DSWD assistance.

“Dapat malaman talaga kung klaro na kinaltasan at sinabi sa announcement na presyo, pero may kaltas ang ninyo,” he said.
Cayetano said that payouts should also announce the amount the people should receive for transparency purposes.

“Sa aking opisina, inannounce namin paulit-ulit na dapat ito ang amount na i-uwi ninyo. Para kapag iba ang amount, kaya nilang magsumbong on the spot,” he explained.

He also urged organizers to conduct payouts in public spaces. “We don’t do this in private offices. Dapat sa covered or open court at may staff na andoon,” he said.

All these precautions, he said, should help prevent miscommunication and promote transparency and accountability in assistance rollouts.


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