• Lacierda scores Makabayan bloc

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    Malacañang scored the Makabayan bloc in Congress, calling the group “anti-government” for criticizing the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT) which the official said is “pro-poor.”

    “I wonder why they don’t agree. Maybe one of the reasons why is because the Makabayan bloc has always been anti-government. We are able to help many of our countrymen,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

    He said progressive lawmakers who belong to the bloc are mad that the CCT has reduced the number of people who sympathize with the Left.

    “They are slowly losing their sympathizers because the government is already addressing their needs,” he stressed.

    Lacierda noted that the root of unrest among the poor was the lack of government support to their basic needs, which is now being addressed by the CCT where millions of poor families are currently enrolled.

    “The budget is really meant to service the needs of our countrymen, the basic services—like education, health—and so we have, for instance, invested again in our conditional cash transfer program, in our health coverage,” he explained.

    Lacierda said the Makabayan bloc’s call for the abolition of the program was uncalled for and contrary to the interest of millions of poor people.

    “It’s not right (to abolish CCT). This conditional cash transfer helps the poorest of the poor. The Makabayan bloc is supposedly for the poor but they want to remove this support, the lifesaver and lifeline for our countrymen,” he pointed out.

    “They should be encouraging this because the CCT (conditional cash transfer) program, let me remind them, is not a dole out. What is important is that we are able to provide help under certain conditions,” Lacierda said.

    The CCT provides financial assistance to poor families on the condition that their children go to school and mothers seek pregnancy checks.

    JOEL M. SY EGCO

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