Lawmaker appeals gov’t to use Php62-B CCT for job creation

MANILA, Nov. 12 (PNA) — Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Thursday appealed to the Aquino administration to use the huge chunk of the proposed Php62.35 billion Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), under next year’s Php3.002 trillion national budget for job creation.

Romualdez said the government should cease from implementing band-aid solutions to various problems in the country especially in addressing poverty.

“This is the problem when there is a knee-jerk reaction to a particular situation. Poverty can be best addressed if the government will provide skills training and livelihood program,” Romualdez said in response to the provision in Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) providing for Php4,000 as rental aid to homeless families in Metro Manila, which according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been practiced since three years ago.

“Let us teach our people how to catch fish and not to continuously depend on government’s resources through the CCT. It is the primary duty of the state to ensure that quality and decent jobs are given to Filipinos. The need for livelihood and jobs are the real concerns now and this is a long-term solution to address the widespread poverty,” Romualdez pointed out.

Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas welcomed the proposal of Romualdez, adding the government is doing everything to provide livelihood assistance to the poorest of the poor which then Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva had been addressing.

“The proposal was noble and worthy because job creation is a vital component for sustainable development. For sure, the Aquino administration has been addressing calls for decent income to our fellow countrymen in the countryside,” said Alvarez, a stalwart of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).

Vargas, who is running unopposed on his second term under LP, assured the public that their presidential candidate Mar Roxas would ensure sustainable and better jobs for Filipinos and continue the CCT program.

“The standard-bearer of administration party (Roxas) will remain steadfast in our quest to look and sustain for stable income that would truly help the poor people. The CCT program will continue because it directly helps the poor people,” said Vargas.

DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman said MCCT-HSF was an expansion of the 4Ps, which provides a complete package of assistance to street families, including responsive shelter program, access to social services, and economic opportunities for the improvement of their living conditions.

A total of 4,071 families have been registered in the program and part of the MCCT-HSF is the “reach out” to street dwellers to assess them for possible inclusion in the program.

Budget Sec. Florencio Abad Jr. claimed that the Php62.35 billion CCT budget under the DSWD’s Php107.6 billion in the proposed 2016 Php3.002 trillion national budget has been allocated for the program for the poorest of the poor.

A total of Php62.6 billion was allocated for the 4Ps in 2014 and Php62.32 billion this year.

The 2011 budget for CCT was Php29.2 billion, Php39.4 billion in 2012 and Php44.3 billion in 2013.

The CCT budget during the incumbency of then President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, now a Pampanga lawmaker, was Php10 billion in 2010, Php5 billion in 2009 and Php299 million in 2008.

The program provides cash grants to targeted poor Filipino families based on sustained, verified compliance with certain health and education conditions.

Such conditions include sending children to school, ensuring they receive regular checkups and participating in family planning and nutrition.

Under the cash assistance program implemented by the DSWD, each identified poor family receives a monthly stipend of up to Php1,400, or a total of Php15,000 every year for five years, on condition that it sends children to school and clinics for vaccination, among others.

The program was patterned after the conditional cash transfer schemes in Latin America and African countries, which have lifted millions of people around the world from poverty. (PNA)