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Technical glitch not responsible for missing CCT beneficiaries, says CPU

DSWD Conditional Cash Transfer Program

"Dismissing the problem as a simple technical glitch in the database system for non-existent beneficiaries is the easiest way out for DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman," reacts Ms. Gladys Regalado, Deputy National Coordinator of the Computer Professionals' Union (CPU). COA reported that 7,782 non-existent household beneficiaries received a total of P50.15M from the CCT Program. "We support calls to investigate the CCT program for its irregularities."

According to Sec. Soliman, the missing household names on the DSWD report submitted to COA were due to a technical glitch on the database of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. But on the "second pass", the missing names were found.

"Database systems like any other technology are tools. Failures and errors can not be blamed on it. It is up to the implementors of database systems to ensure their integrity and accuracy. Giving it garbage data will certainly return garbage," adds Ms. Regalado.

Database systems work like huge lists where names are entered with a timestamp. Creating a report from this list will only include names entered before the time of report generation. A "second pass" means, generating the same report at a later time. If these two reports are different, then records were either added or deleted.

"Following Sec. Soliman's explanation, it means that during their submission of report to COA those names are non-existent on their database. Then, upon COA's findings, the database must have been altered to include data to conform with the COA report on the second pass", said Ms. Regalado. "If it was not altered, then the whole database system has serious data integrity issues."

"Implementing the whole CCT program is conceptually simple. Once you have identified the beneficiaries, you put them on a list and then give them the dole-out. The list then is central to the whole program. An accurate database of beneficiaries is imperative," emphasizes Ms. Regalado.

"The whole CCT program should be investigated. Its impact is still doubtful. Its targetting mechanism and fund disbursement is tainted with irregularities. We could be wasting huge funds for nothing," said Ms. Regalado.

CPU is a network of computer professionals, IT practitioners and free and open source advocates united in advancing ICT for the People.

Source: Computer Professionals' Union (CPU) and DSWD

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