WHY are malnourished children whose condition had been caused by hunger not included in the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program?
Dr. Armand Lee posed this question on Friday during a forum titled “Aiming for #ZeroHunger” at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City (Metro Manila).
“My experience with hunger is more on the effect which is the malnourished children. I get to see children who are really so malnourished and it is a pity to see them not included in the CCT program,” said Lee, who used to work in a health center in Pasay City (Metro Manila) for more than a decade before his transfer to the regional Department of Health (DOH).
Responding to the doctor’s concern, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman said malnourished children are mostly street children and her office had piloted a modified CCT that includes street families in the program.
The government undertaking is also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
“We are now expanding, which really means we are including the street families [in]the program. It’s modified because there are two other elements that [are]not part of the current Pantawid which [are]renting houses for them and [intervening in]livelihood immediately,” Soliman explained.
Street families, she said, are very enterprising and that is why they are on the streets doing a lot of jobs to earn a living.
According to her, there are three categories of street families.
One, those who are on the streets for two or three generations and have a different value system.
“They want their freedom including the carbon monoxide and everything. We really need to go through more reflective sessions with them,” Soliman said.
Two, the displaced or those whose houses got burned or who were evicted.
Soliman said the DSWD had conducted a survey and held a recent summit in Quezon City and Manila and it was learned that there are college graduates who also live on the streets.
Three, families created by children who had been orphaned or who do not want to go back to their parents.
Detecting malnutrition, Soliman said, is something the DWSD and the DOH are working on.
The DSWD has partnered with Rappler and the World Food Programme in #HungerProject, which seeks to create awareness on extent of the hunger problem in the country.
The partners said hunger can be solved and eradicated.