Government cash transfer program up for Senate scrutinyBy Christian V. Esguerra, Kate Evangelista
INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer
A Congressional oversight committee will scrutinize the administration’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, which will get around P45 billion in the proposed 2013 national budget, Senator Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.
Drilon, finance committee chairman, said the committee would look into the program before both chambers of Congress deliberate on the P2 trillion National Expenditure Program proposed by Malacañang.
The CCT program, which doles out money to the poorest families in the country, has been the subject of criticism since it was first implemented by the Arroyo administration. Mr. Aquino opted to continue the program and jacked up its allocations since he took office in 2010.
“It is pertinent that we conduct a review of the effectiveness and efficiency of the conditional cash transfer program that is primarily conceptualized to uplift the lives of the poorest Filipino families,” Drilon said in a statement.
“We would like to hear from Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman if her agency has successfully plugged in some of the loopholes that we and some concerned sectors have identified.”
Drilon heads the congressional oversight committee with Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, chair of the House committee on appropriations. The review is at 2 p.m. Thursday, less than two weeks before the proposed national budget is transmitted to Congress.
The CCT program—also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program—was initially worth P21 billion during Mr. Aquino’s first national budget as president in 2011. It was nearly doubled to P39 billion this year.
Among the goals of the CCT program is to help keep poor students in school. Poor families with three children below 14 years old are given cash so long as they regularly attend school.
At a Senate hearing last year, Education Secretary Armin Luistro was asked about the correlation between the decrease in dropout rate and the CCT. But he failed to provide data to show any connection.
“A component of the CCT is given on the condition that the children attend 85 percent of the school days of a month,” Drilon said then. “Therefore, the government expects an improvement in school attendance and a reduction in the dropout rates from the present 24 per 100 students in areas where the CCT is applied.”
Originally posted at 02:52 pm | Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tags: 2013 national budget , Aquino Administration , Benigno Aquino III , CCT Program , conditional cash transfer program , Dinky Soliman , Franklin Drilon , Government , Nation , National Expenditure Program , News , Poverty , State budget