By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today
Senator Ferdinand Marcos said on Sunday he would closely look at the ballooning government allocation for dole-outs to the poor known as Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which has grown from P24 billion in the past several years to P45 billion in the 2013 national budget.
Overall, I can see problems here (2013 budget) like the CCT funds which became bigger. It’s now P45 billion When I first sat as senator, it was P24 or P25 billion,” Marcos said.
He said the CCT funds should only be supplemental, and the poor should not be entirely dependent on it to the extent that they would find no need to look for work.
Intended as a poverty alleviation scheme, the CCT provides money to the country’s poorest households under certain conditions that include keeping their children in school. It has benefited at least three million families, but the government hoped to raise it to five million.
Over 26 percent of the Philippine population of about 95 million are considered to be living in poverty. The project started in the previous administration, but Aquino expanded it when he was elected in 2010.
Marcos said the best way to help the poor was to develop infrastructure because economic statistics show that Philippine industries were becoming smaller and smaller.
“We are just depending on remittances of overseas Filipino workers. That does not make a healthy economy,” Marcos said.
He said the government should look for long-term solutions to the problems of poverty and not rely on CCT funds as a remedy to poverty.
“As a short-term solution, CCT is fine. But in the long run, the government should make investments,” Marcos said.