MalacaÑang on Monday rejected fresh calls to stop the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), saying it would be “criminal” for the government not to help the poor.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the CCT’s goal had always been “capacitating” poor Filipinos, and not just providing them with doleouts.
“Why do we need to address the poorest of the poor? Because not to do otherwise is going to be an abandonment of our commitment to [our]people. We cannot allow them to remain in that cycle of poverty,” Lacierda told reporters in a press conference.
The government proposed a P64.7 billion budget for CCT in the 2015 national budget. The program was expanded to cover beneficiaries and help their children complete their secondary education to give them better job opportunities.
“We need to intervene. To a large extent, it will be criminal for us not to help the poorest of the poor and that’s our commitment—that no one should be left behind,” Lacierda said.
House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora yesterday said the CCT—which grants as much as P1,400 monthly cash assistance to a poor family provided that they comply with conditions promoting human development goals such as sending their children to school, having regular check ups for pregnant mothers and immunization for children—is a mere dole out system that does not pull the poor out of poverty.
“We must put an end, decisively, to the CCT program. It provides temporary relief for millions of families, but it does not provide them what they really need: real jobs . . . paying and self-sustaining jobs that will enable them to have a decent future,” Zamora said.
“[We need] jobs, not doleouts,” he stressed.
Zamora also called for an “overhaul” of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Agrarian Reform, saying the country posted an embarrassing one percent growth in the agriculture sector for the last four years of the Aquino administration.
“We need to shake up these agencies because this agricultural growth is very disappointing and has kept the income of our farmers and fishermen in low levels,” Zamora said.
In generating jobs, Zamora pitched for the hiring of nursing graduates in barangay health centers and engaging into environment-friendly mining activities which involves the community in the production chain, among others.
The CCT program is administered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development headed by Secretary Dinky Soliman.
Lacierda said Congress can investigate the impact of the CCT.
The CCT, otherwise known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, currently operates in 79 provinces, covering 1,484 municipalities and 143 cities in all 17 regions nationwide. It has 4,090,667 registered households nationwide as of June 25, 2014.