Not all of the P64.7-billion proposed 2015 budget for the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program will go to the 4.6 million poor family-beneficiaries because 11 percent will cover the program’s implementation cost, an amount that the Senate finance committee wants to slash.
The P7-billion implementation cost is contained in the proposed 2015 budget of the
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Ralph Recto, Senate president pro-tempore and chairman of a Senate finance sub-committee, said recently.
Recto, during a hearing on the proposed DSWD budget, asked the department’s Secretary Corazon Soliman why she was seeking to increase the implementation cost of the CCT program—also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)—from P5.4 billion this year to about P7 billion next near.
Soliman cited the third wave of the evaluation process, which is being done to determine impact of the CCT program on the family-beneficiaries.
The implementation also covers the salary of at least 9,000 contractual employees of the DSWD amounting to P3 billion.
“I have to review all the documents. This [amount for CCT program implementation]is the biggest allocation in the department’s P108-billion proposed 2015 budget,” Recto told reporters.
He said he had asked the DSWD to find ways for trimming down the implementation cost of the program because the agency could use a portion of the money to fund other more important programs.
Recto added that P10 million in savings from the overhead cost of the CCT program would mean additional 600 families enrolled in it.
Based on DSWS data, the agency would be spending a total of P33 billion for the implementation cost of the CCT program from 2008 to 2018.
Recto suggested that the department, instead of hiring additional contractual employees to help in the CCT program implementation, could tap local Social Welfare workers in cities and municipalities.
Soliman said they would consider the suggestion of the senator but she noted that many congressmen are not in favor of allowing local government units to be involved in the CCT program, particularly in selection of family-beneficiaries.
The government has spent more than P200 billion for the CCT program since 2010 but poverty incidence in the country remains high and is even increasing.
The program provides cash grants to family-beneficiaries provided that they comply with conditions set by it.
Families enrolled in the program, for one, must keep their children in school and make the children undergo periodic health examinations and receive immunization and deworming pills.
Pregnant mothers, for another, must avail of pre- and post-natal care and be attended during childbirth by a trained health professional