The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs is currently delving into the alleged “Ayuda scam” in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro. In their pursuit of justice, the committee has called on officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to collaborate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in identifying the culprits behind this fraudulent scheme.
During the Senate inquiry on the “Ayuda scam,” a former employee of Davao del Norte Vice Governor De Carlo “Oyo” Uy, known only as Mon, made a startling revelation. Mon admitted to deducting substantial amounts from the payout of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) and the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD). She disclosed that she handed over the money to Uy’s staff and decided to attend the Senate hearing after receiving threats on her cellphone.
The term “Ayuda,” which translates to “aid,” has become synonymous with cash assistance provided by the government to financially disadvantaged individuals. Especially during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, it played a crucial role in helping Filipinos survive. However, this essential lifeline has now been tainted by allegations of corruption.
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the chairman of the committee, emphasized that while these dole-outs were intended to help those in financial distress, they can also become breeding grounds for corruption and theft. Those with access to these funds and entrusted with their distribution may exploit the system for personal gain.
During the hearing, dela Rosa shared that on November 13, 2023, his office received a letter from Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib, requesting an investigation into the Ayuda scam. The governor revealed that over sixty individuals from Davao del Norte and seven from Davao de Oro were allegedly victimized by this scheme.
According to the governor’s letter, the victims were informed of a scheduled AICS payout for which they were eligible, provided they brought the necessary documents. Many of them were even aware of the amount they were supposed to receive. However, upon arriving at the disbursement venue, they were directed to a separate room where their money was forcefully taken from them. They were only allowed to take home P1,000, which amounted to a mere 20 percent of the original P5,000.
Disturbingly, there have been allegations that this was not an isolated incident. It is believed that this modus operandi has been sanctioned by political officials and carried out within government premises. Furthermore, it has been suggested that these fraudulent payouts were distributed to allies who participated in the recently concluded barangay elections.
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs is committed to uncovering the truth behind the Ayuda scam. By bringing these corrupt individuals to justice, they aim to restore the integrity of the government’s cash assistance programs and ensure that funds reach the intended beneficiaries.
Instances of corruption like the Ayuda scam undermine public trust and hinder the progress of the nation. The Filipino people deserve transparency and accountability from their leaders. It is imperative that the authorities thoroughly investigate these allegations and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
As the Senate Committee continues its inquiry, it is essential for the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine National Police to cooperate fully. By working together, they can unmask the identities of the individuals behind this scam and send a clear message that corruption will not be tolerated.
In conclusion, the Ayuda scam has exposed a dark side of the government’s cash assistance programs. However, through the Senate Committee’s investigation and the collaboration of relevant agencies, justice can be served, and measures can be put in place to prevent similar incidents in the future. The Filipino people deserve a government that upholds transparency, integrity, and the well-being of its citizens.
Source: The Manila Times