Doubts over targets justify CCT probe

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We support calls for an investigation into the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program and hope that this leads to a rigorous evaluation of its efficiency. The calls not only came from critics of the Aquino Administration, but also from its political allies. For instance, House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. was quoted in the media as saying that allegations of misappropriations must be checked.

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Belmonte, along with other lawmakers, was reacting to a recent Asian Development Bank (ADB) report that said 30 percent of the CCT funds did not fall into the hands of the intended beneficiaries. The lender later clarified that the problem referred to was based on a recent report by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) involving 2012 data, and that since then, the government has cleaned up its list of beneficiaries. On Friday, the Palace’s Official Gazette quoted Richard Bolt, ADB’s Philippine country director, as saying: “As such, we are confident that the issue raised is no longer the case in the ongoing conditional cash transfer program.”

We are not as certain of this as Director Bolt. The report quoted by the ADB points out that the CCT has not been rigorously reviewed since it was ramped up by the Aquino government. That is true until today.

PIDS explained that the problems with targeting stems from “… the rapid scaling up of the program, which happened when the systems were still being developed.” From 2009 when the improper targeting supposedly happened, the CCT’s beneficiaries were only 630,000 households. By May 2015, the number of beneficiaries has jumped to 4.4 million households. Such rapid expansion even required the government to secure loans from the ADB and World Bank. This year, the CCT’s budget is a whopping P64.7 billion.

Set of indicators needed
As we have said many times in this space, we have reservations about the effectiveness of a dole-out program, and that the better policy to address poverty is through job generation. Sometimes, though, the success of conditional cash transfer programs in other countries seems to support the claim that the CCT can help alleviate poverty, if effectively administered.

To date, however, we have heard only anecdotal evidence of the program’s positive results from Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which administers the CCT. She claims that the decline in self-rated hunger and some success stories were proof that the CCT was working. But she also acknowledges that the self-rated poverty rate has remained unchanged.

The poverty incidence rate stood at 19.7 percent, according to the latest government statistics gathered in 2012. Poverty is measured every three years, and compared with 2009, the incidence rate was about the same at 20.5 percent.

A review of the CCT requires tracking several indicators, since movements in the poverty rate cannot be attributed to one factor alone. For instance, policymakers should look at school dropout rates. A condition for receiving the subsidy is for recipient families to send their children to school.

The dropout rates at the elementary level rose to 6.81 percent in school-year 2012-2013 from 6.02 percent in 2008-2009, which covered the period when the CCT officially started. The high school dropout rate also climbed, from 7.45 percent in 2008-2009 to 9.2 percent in 2012-2013.

There are other indicators that seem to question the efficacy of the dole-outs. All of these underscore the need for a thorough review of the CCT.

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7 Comments

  1. This government program called “conditional Cash Transfer ( CCT) does not really help the poorest of the poor but encourages indolence among the recipients. And most signifantly, it is a big source of corruption in the DSWA of Decay Soliman. Of course Soliman will say it is an on-going success as paid Testimonial Witnesses says so. The poverty level will not be reduced by the entitlement but instead will be on a steady number cause the budget is getting bigger (now 69 billion) as the poverty level increas to justify growing budget. The data of the veracity of the recipients and integrity of the list is suspect since the money can be ploughed to other unlawful recipients like the employees and management of DSWA. It could be the same story as the billions of donations to victims of Yolanda, which up to now has not benefitted the victims as. Dinky (Decay) Soliman is withholding their release for some greedy and personal reasons! Now the CCT beneficiaries number to 4.4 millions which even ADB is suspicious of its authenticity as it implies the list is so padded that DSWA is lining up for loans from IMF, World Bank and ADB to be able to finance and fund the CCT. I am sure that by the time Dinky Decay Soliman leaves her DSWA office, she will be a billionaire! People must not trust this transgender/lesbian-looking.woman with pinky anf violet hair strand!

  2. if the government really wants poor students to go to school and finish their schooling, the government can channel the CCT fund to public schools and use the fund to give free healthy meals to poor students. by doing so, gaganahan ang mga students na pumasok sa eskuwelahan at ie-encourage rin sila ng kanilang mga magulang na pumasok sa school, at ma-check up na rin ang kanilang kalusugan thru the clinics of the schools or the health center workers can go to schools and monitor the health of the students.

    puwede na ring sumabay ang mga parents na magpa-check up ng kanilang health sa school’s clinics kapag hinatid nila ang mga bata sa school.

    also, buying food items by bulk or wholesale, the schools can save a lot of government fund.

  3. Larry Ebersole on

    with that billions the government can build a school in every province that will cater to development of skills of the really poor. the government can MANDATE the local manufacturing companies in the philippines to set up their own training centers in this school thereby management will not by the government itself but by the companies themselves; the government only provides the venue. this way the school will be out of reach of the corrupt politicians we have all over.

  4. Let us stop CCT it is not productive and encourages mendicancy. Channel the funds to infrastructures like expanding government hospitals/health centers which caters to really poor constituents.Build more classrooms. Use DSWD to take care of street children, home for the aged and other vulnerable members of society not dole outs use to buy alcohol, gambling and drugs. This is the most wasteful budget ever conceived aside from PDAF and DAP.

  5. The government teaches our people to become lazy. instead of giving our people free and good education. the amount of these money can build several schooling building for public school for free education until they graduated from high school. Lazy, stupid mind of these President .

  6. The CCT needs a thorough review. The objective and where has the money gone are two questions that must be investigated. We should just take the money and built local road and super-highways with the money. Set aside 70% of the jobs for our out of work people. These jobs are manual labor job and all able body people can qualify.