Marcos: Aquino's CCT a failure
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - August 6, 2014 - 6:36pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration’s flagship anti-poverty program, which tripled in budget from about P22 billion in the past Arroyo administration to its current P64.7-billion budget is a failure, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said.

Marcos said the current Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program lacked transparency because it failed to improve the situation of the so-called poorest of the poor in the country. There are no statistics to prove the CCT’s gains, he added.

Marcos said he is not questioning the CCT’s intention, but on how the CCT funds were actually spent and if the program had really improved the lives of those in the poverty level.

“The intention behind CCT is good but the implementation is not yet clear,” he added. “If you are spending P60 billion, and you have (stagnant) poverty and unemployment rate, it is not working,” Marcos added.

Marcos noted that from  P 22-billion CCT budget during the past Arroyo administration, the budget has increased almost 300 percent at P 64.7 billion for 2015.

In an interview, Marcos said he intends to grill the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led by Sec. Corazon “Dinky” Soliman once the Senate starts to scrutinize the agency’s proposed budget for 2015.

“It’s not working. There should be a dramatic decrease in the poverty level… yet we do not see any statistics that health and education (school attendance) improved as a result of the CCT,” Marcos said.

The CCT is also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, which is being implemented by the DSWD.

Unlike in other countries where the CCT funds came from corporate contributions, Marcos noted that the government had to get loans to finance the programs.

“There is no element of balanced equity in the present CCT program where the funds should have come from the rich sector and transferred to the poorest of the poor, the senator added.

“Then, of course, there is the potential for political abuse,” Marcos said.

Joblessness was also not addressed during the CCT implementation, Marcos said. Citing  the case of Spain, when it declared emergency crisis mode when hit the 25 percent jobless rate at the height of the global crisis.

“If you are talking of 24.7 percent (jobless rate here), and say we are okay, then that is is terrible. What is the effect of CCT? They have to explain that the health and education,” he stressed.

“It’s a transfer payment… that is where we are heading. It is not clear if it is being implemented well. We have to ask them also what about the health and education figures,” Marcos said.

Marcos has scored the lack of mechanism for proper reporting on the effectiveness of the CCT program.

“It’s not very transparent, both the process and the performance. We have political indigents long before, maybe, this one is institutionalizing that,” Marcos said.

“It is not clear how they implement the CCT and how they qualify the recipients,” he added.

Marcos also wondered the identification of the recipients and how these funds are distributed when the DSWD only have personnel at the regional levels, and neither do the agency tap local government units in the implementation.

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