Palace hopeful lawmakers reconsider cut in proposed ’16 CCT budget

By Joann Santiago

MANILA, Dec. 8 (PNA) — Malacanang is hoping that lawmakers will reconsider their decision of cutting by PhP8 billion the proposed 2016 budget of the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

“We trust that our legislators will consider the implications of their decision on the CCT beneficiaries who are the most important stakeholders in our efforts to achieve inclusive growth,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement.

“We shall await the outcome of the deliberations of the bicameral conference committee on the matter,” he added.

Reports said Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Juan Ponce Enrile and Loren Legarda, proposed the cut in the CCT program’s proposed PhP64 billion budget for next year to PhP56 billion.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, in statement Tuesday, said the cut in the agency’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) “was made despite the fact that the Senate has approved our budget proposal in the budget plenary session in November, without deductions.”

She even cited that lawmakers “even put in additional funds to our Social Pension and Supplementary Feeding Programs so we can cover more indigent Filipinos in need of government support.”

“Hence, we cannot accept the reduction in our budget, more so that it will be taken from the cash grants for Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries,” she said.

The DSWD chief added that the slashed budget means that for two months 4.4 million household will not receive health and education grants, 10.2 million children will not be able to go to school to study and will not be have their physical fitness check-up, and there will be no family development sessions. (PNA)