Malacañang on Thursday said that the Aquino government is open to proposals to expand the coverage of its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program to give children-beneficiaries the chance to finish high school.
Dr. Celia Reyes of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) earlier recommended the expansion of the educational grant of CCT or Pantawid Pamilyang
Pilipino Program (4Ps) from 14 to 18 years old.
Currently, the government’s poverty reduction program only supports children aged 0-14 or up to second year high school.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is studying the possible expansion of CCT coverage.
”The DSWD is seriously studying the proposal to expand the coverage,” Valte told reporters.
The Palace official refused to comment if the budget for CCT has been raised.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday approved the P2.268 trillion budget for 2014.
In a statement, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman recognized the importance of supporting beneficiaries up to secondary level, citing its effects on the labor market by producing more educated and skilled labor force.
”We recognize the contention of a lot of mothers and beneficiaries on the additional school expenses under the K-to-12 program,” Soliman said.
”The expansion of the program through high school would help poor families continue sending their children to school even with the additional levels,” she added.
Soliman noted that the CCT “is not the only government program directed towards poverty reduction,” but it also “converged with other government programs that are anchored on job generation, livelihood, shelter, education, health, and agriculture.”
”The cash grant under the Pantawid Pamilya is like a salbabida [life buoy]to stabilize the situation of the poor, while investment on health and education is being done,” Soliman added.
The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a rights-based program that focuses on human capital investment through provision of health and education cash grants to eligible poor households.
It is one of the poverty reduction strategies of the government to enable poor households to meet certain human development goals “aimed at breaking intergenerational cycle of poverty.”