Manila Bulletin – Marcos wants to reduce CCT budget by P7 billion

By Manila Bulletin

mb_onlineMANILA, Philippines (PNA) — Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. suggested on Tuesday to cut down by P7 billion the P21 billion allocation for the government’s anti-poverty program for 2011, saying the 100 percent increase in the conditional cash transfer (CCT) budget is too much.

”My suggestion is to cut down the increase. What would be acceptable would be a 30 percent increase in the program. That can be absorbed,” Marcos said during the Senate deliberations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) budget.

Marcos said that the DSWD should be realistic and not to be ambitious in increasing the CCT budget from the current P10 billion to P21 billion.

”We should not be too ambitious. If they will push for that P21 billion, it will be subject to abuse, wastage and inefficiency,” Marcos explained.

Marcos suggested that the P7 billion cut should be realigned to the infrastructure and agriculture which are really in dire need of government support.

”I’m in favor of CCT but we have to remember that it is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. We are trying hard to make sure that the program will be a success and the very scarce resources of the country will not go to waste,” Marcos said.

In a media interview, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman assured that the DSWD manpower specially in the local level have capability to implement the CCT program which started in 2008.

Soliman said the DSWD will also implement the program with the help of the Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government and other volunteer organizations.

The DSWD has already identified the 2.3 million beneficiaries of the program although Soliman admitted that the problem is how to verify the poor families.

Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile urged the DSWD to review the list of the beneficiaries of the CCT program after learning that many poor families along the coastal villages are not included in the program.

”I know it by experience. That’s where (coastal area) I grew up. And any coastal area in the country is populated by poor people,” Enrile explained.

Enrile specifically mentioned typhoon-devastated villages in his hometown province of Cagayan are not included in the list of the CCT program beneficiaries.

Senator Ralph Recto said he would present his own amendments to the CCT program which, he hopes, would earn positive results like what happened in other countries like Brazil which is now one of the growing economies in the world.

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