Aquino: Cash transfer program worth every peso
President Benigno S. Aquino III converses with His Eminence Charles Maung Bo, Papal Legate and Archbishop of Yangon and the Pontifical delegation during a courtesy call in Malacanang Monday (February 1). The Papal Legate and his delegation is in Manila after the successful celebration of International Eucharist in Cebu. (MNS photo)
MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday defended the multi-billion peso budget allocated for the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, saying every peso spent for over 7.7 million Filipinos already lifted out of poverty is “worth it.”
“Merong mga nagsasabi na imbestigahan daw ang Pantawid Pamilya at napakalaki ng gastusin, palagay ko naman na tayong mas nakararami at bukas ang pag-i-isip, sasabihin na yung naitalang 7.7 million Filipinos na nakaalpas na sa kahirapan sa tulong ng 4Ps, talagang sulit ang bawat pisong inilaan natin sa programa,” Aquino said.
The President made the statement during the 65th anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which implements the said flagship anti-poverty program of the government.
The government increased the 2016 budget for the CCT, or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), to P62.7 billion to cover 4.6 million households.
The government’s official web portal defines the 4Ps as “a human development measure of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18.”
The program is patterned after the CCT schemes in Latin American and African countries, which the government said have lifted millions of people around the world from poverty.
Aquino said the CCT’s success will further extend to the youth after the government broadened the program’s coverage to include high school students from indigent families.
Also at the anniversary, the President announced a P10,000 “milestone” bonus for employees of the DSWD.
Aquino also touted the transformation of the DSWD’s image to an agency perceived to be ready and prepared to respond to calamities.
“Kapag sinabing DSWD, ang agad nang maiisip: handang-handa at alisto. Kababalita pa lang na may paparating na bagyo, automatic na ang prepositioning ng ayuda. Nariyan ang buong ahensiya, kumpleto ang datos, para makapaghanda nang tama at maayos,” he said.
But Aquino admitted that the disaster response of the government is far from perfect, citing the Yolanda tragedy in 2013 wherein prepositioned goods were ransacked in warehouses, and first responders in local communities were also affected by the typhoon.
“Ito po, inaaral natin, kasama ng iba pang puwedeng maisaayos, para higit pang mapabuti ang serbisyo sa ating mga Boss,” he said.
The President was also all praises for Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, who he said was on call “25 hours” a day, eight days a week, without overtime pay and incentive bonus. (MNS)