“Is Starpay the Pharmally of the DSWD…?”

    Senators pressed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on a ₱50 billion deal between the Government agency and a small business called Starpay Corp.
    Last year, the DSWD allegedly hired Starpay Corp to digitally send cash aid to poor Filipinos as part of its social amelioration program.

    MANILA — Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao questioned the DSWD on how and why Starpay Corp was able to receive the largest share of the funding despite having only obtained a license in 2018 and incurring a loss in 2019.

    In July, he also claimed that ₱10.4 billion in SAP funds were unaccounted for.

    Senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis Pangilinan drew parallels between Pharmally and Starpay at a Senate finance subcommittee hearing on the DSWD’s 2022 budget.

    Pharmally’s ₱11.5 billion worth of procurement deals for pandemic supplies in 2020 and 2021 is under scrutiny, and Starpay Corp was reportedly having cash-flow problems before it won lucrative Government deals.

    “I think the question is: Is Starpay the Pharmally of the DSWD or not?” Pangilinan said at one point during the budget hearing.

    To which, Pacquiao replied, “I think it’s bigger than Pharmally.” (HMP/The MiNT)


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