THE chairman of the House committee on poverty alleviation on Sunday said despite the increased budget of P78.7 billion for the Conditional Cash Transfer and livehood programs, the system remains an exponent of the culture of dole mentality, mendicancy and disunity in the communities.
Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said disunity is now prevalent in the poor communities because some of those who consider themselves poorer than the 4.6-million CCT beneficiaries now consider the latter as “enemies” due to the government’s failure to enlist the poorest of the poor as a result of “political patronage.”
In an interview over radio dzBB, De Jesus said the panel would push for jobs creation to really alleviate the poor from poverty.
“Even in the previous Congresses, my colleagues and I believe the CCT program is not the answer to poverty alleviation,” she said.
De Jesus acknowledged that some of her colleagues in the present Congress under President Rodrigo Duterte have changed their tune after the President increased the budget for CCT from P65 billion to P78.7 billion, including P23.4 billion for the 20-kilo rice subsidy for some three million household beneficiaries.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said some households house two families but the two families will get 20-kilo bag rice subsidy.
“Some P129.9 billion was allocated for the Department of Social Welfare and Development with P17.9 billion allotted for social pensions for all indigent senior citizens, P78.7 billion to fund the CCT, wherein some P23.4 billion to fund rice allowance for three million eligible household beneficiaries and P9.6 billion for the sustainable livelihood program that aims to benefit 381,978 families,” Diokno said.
“Since we have new President, who increased the budget for CCT and added rice subsidy, the number of those who think CCT is dole now believe that help is still help, no matter if the help is only worth P100,” De Jesus told dzBB. “That was the knee-jerk reaction.”
In fact, she said, there were already several bills filed seeking to institutionalize the CCT program. The bills are slated for discussion by the panel.
But De Jesus insisted the CCT only provides immediate relief and palliative solution to poverty problems and that the beneficiaries still desire for gainful employment that is sustainable.
She said the panel would try to fix the major problems created by the CCT.
One of the major problems, she said, was that community members who were poorer than the beneficiaries and not recruited to the program consider those enlisted as enemies.
“It is alarming because instead of the CCT fostering unity, some members of the communities consider those beneficiaries who are not as poor as they, as enemies and expose them as they having been enlisted because of palakasan system, as a result of political patronage,” De Jesus said.
She said for as long as there is no comprehensive approach to the problems such as maternal health, education and livelihood programs, the mendicancy and poverty will remain.
“If the education sector is well-funded, then parents will have no problem sending their children to school because education is free,” De Jesus said.
De Jesus said the panel would scrutinize the budget and study the poverty alleviation programs that would give answers to poverty alleviation permanently.
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