Palace confident cash transfer program to continue
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang expressed confidence that the next administration would continue the conditional cash transfer program even without a law institutionalizing it.

Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said there may not be enough time to pass a bill institutionalizing the CCT program, but its benefits and effectiveness in lifting people out of poverty should be enough to keep it.

He cited statements made at the conference on sustaining the gains of the CCT program at the Asian Development Bank that it would be stupid for future governments to abolish the poverty alleviation program.

“It is an existing government program. It has already been carried over from one administration to another,” Quezon said over dzRB.

“At the present time, I think we should be focusing on how the voters would consider this,” he added.

But Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said the beneficiaries themselves are lobbying to institutionalize the CCT program through legislation to ensure that the program would continue and would not be used for patronage politics. 

She noted that the CCT program is becoming a campaign challenge as the May election draws near.

She said that if the administration’s candidates for president and vice president would not win in the May elections, the new administration might stop the CCT, or change the beneficiaries, or change the anti-poverty program to conform to patronage politics.

“This is what makes us nervous because the list of beneficiaries comes from a survey and not from the recommendation of a congressman, governor, mayor or barangay captain. (Under the present administration), the CCT has not been used in patronage politics because the beneficiaries can directly withdraw the cash from a bank, a rural bank and an automated teller machine,” she explained.

The bill institutionalizing the CCT is at the committee on poverty reduction of the House of Representatives.

Congress is waiting for the Senate’s version, which will come from the counterpart panel chaired by Sen. Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the opposition’s presidential candidate and frontrunner in the surveys for president.

ACIRC ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK ATILDE BUT SOCIAL WELFARE SECRETARY CORAZON SOLIMAN CCT HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NANCY BINAY PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATIONS OFFICE PROGRAM UNDERSECRETARY MANUEL QUEZON VICE PRESIDENT JEJOMAR BINAY
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