ABS-CBN News reported:
In a speech in Cebu City on Wednesday, Aquino said his administration’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme, through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, is “helping people rise above poverty.”
“But I must warn you that not everyone shares our goal of reform. Already, the enemies of reform seek to politicize the conditional cash transfer program…They are organized, well-funded and determined,” he said.
The President, however, did not cite specific groups or personalities that are allegedly against the cash aid program.
Under the 2011 budget, Aquino earmarked P21.2 billion for the CCT program, which is expected to benefit 2.3 million households nationwide.
“I am aware that these programs can be improved. There have been complaints about payment issues such as lower-entitlement and no cash in card. Missing names in the payroll list or delay in the delivery of cash grants are hindrances to the program’s objectives,” he said. “I am happy to report that we are fine-tuning the mechanisms of this initiative. We will solve these problems, undo the bottlenecks, and make this program more effective.”
The President added that he has ordered Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman to implement the National Household Targeting System and identify families that most urgently need cash assistance.
Solita Collas-Monsod calls CCT as “a safety net for the poor:”
What essentially the CCT boils down to is a social protection or safety net for those suffering from income poverty in the short run, that also addresses outcome poverty at the same time, building human capabilities so that in the long run, the intergenerational transfer of poverty is short-circuited.
There is always room for improvement, of course.
And the success of the CCT in terms of human development outcomes will depend on the availability of the schools, health centers, and other facilities that are needed by the poor to fulfill their part of the contract, as well as the accessibility of the source of funds for the women. Not to mention the ability of the DSWD to target the poor without political interference.
Is P30 billion too costly a program?
Compared to the subsidies given by the government to some of its GOCCs (with less or even nothing to show for it), not to mention the humongous government corporate debt that the national government has had to take over over the past 25, the CCT is not only reasonable, but certainly well worth it.
One must congratulate the Aquino government for putting its money where its mouth is with regard to poverty and development. If anything, it should be spending even more, as as long as the proper safeguards are met.
In any event, the CCT represents the Philippines’ only chance to make significant gains in achieving our Millennium Development Goals. Let us all be reminded that given the current (sans CCT) pace of progress, halving the 1990 income poverty incidence will only be achieved in 2026, reducing the 1990 maternal mortality rates will be reached only in 2048, universal elementary school completion in 2075.
Come to think of it, the success of this administration’s CCT program may yet go down in history as one of its most important accomplishments.
What do you think?