The head of Colombia’s family welfare department has been called before the senate to account for 700,000 children who are not receiving food aid, reported local media.
Delays in delivery of food programs provided by the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) had also left 220,000 elderly people without access to needed assistance, reported El Tiempo newspaper.
Senator Juan Lorzano Ramirez called the situation “alarming,” while senator Armando Benedetti demanded the resignation of ICBF director Diego Molano.
Members from the Polo, Radical Change and Liberal political parties supported Ramirez’s motion to demand Molano explain the six-month delay.
“I want the Director of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute to come here and explain why measures were not taken to ensure that 700,000 children have food rations from the various programs,” Ramirez said in a statement reported by daily El Espectador.
The Colombian Attorney General’s office also demanded the ICBF take immediate action to address the delays, and rejected the ICBF’s claim the problems are linked to improvements being made to the food aid programs. It noted the ICBF is required by law to uphold the rights of poor Colombians to access to state food support, according to El Espectador. The ICBF has been given five days to compile a report on the situation.
In a statement, the ICBF said the summons before the senate will provide an “opportunity to explain the details of the program of Children’s Breakfast with Love-Day, and to answer all the concerns of Congress,” El Tiempo reported.
The ICBF has been plagued by controversy in recent years. An ongoing investigation is examining the loss of $87.5 million from the organization after the Inspector General’s Office found evidence of irregularities and possible bribery in August 2010.