MANILA, Philippines?Victims of flood in various parts of the country in the past weeks should be the immediate beneficiaries of the government?s huge funds allocated to the conditional cash transfer program, members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives said Wednesday.
?The DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) must immediately allocate part of the huge CCT fund to the victims of the recent floods,? according to Minority Leader and Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez, Zambales Representative Ma. Milagros Magsaysay and Lanao del Norte Representative Fatima Aliah Dimaporo.
The lawmakers also said in a news conference that the damage caused by floods in Bicol, Eastern Samar and parts of Mindanao show the need to improve the country?s forest protection and rehabilitation and disaster management practices.
Lagman said the Aquino administration should find a way to do ?budgetary engineering? to channel some of the funds under the CCT program to the flood victims.
?They should be able to make some budgetary engineering in order to do that to prioritize disbursement of CCT funding to areas visited by the floods,? he said.
Under the 2011 budget, the DSWD will get P21-billion funds for its conditional cash transfer fund.
With the P21 billion, the administration is targeting to provide cash transfers to 2.3 million poor households by the end of next year, more than double the one million targeted beneficiaries in 2010.
Under the program, cash is given away to poor families on the conditions that the housewives go to health centers for checkups, and the children keep a high attendance in school.
The allocation, the biggest since the program was launched in the Arroyo administration, has come under heavy scrutiny from lawmakers who argued it would be better spent for other items in the budget.