Senators plan inquiry into conditional cash transfer program
MANILA, Philippines — Senators plan to conduct an inquiry into the administration’s conditional cash transfer program for the poorest of the poor families to determine how its funds have been used and to see if it has met its objectives.
The plan arose amid efforts of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to ban politicians from attending the payouts under the program so they could not use the event to boost their candidacies.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he agreed with the DILG’s ban so that the handing out of the government payout, which is administered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), would not be politicized.
Sotto said he wanted a Senate inquiry into the multibillion-peso program to determine how the funds were being spent and to rationalize the program.
“Firstly, where there is smoke, there is fire,” he said.
How budget is being spent
“Secondly, other countries and international companies spend billions on research and development, yet we appropriate a very measly amount to science and communications technology. So we want to find out how the DSWD budget is being spent on cash-outs,” he added.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he, Sotto and Sen. Gregorio Honasan intended to call for a hearing on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which provides a monthly cash assistance to the poorest families to enable them to send their children to school and pregnant women to undergo regular checkups.
“It started during the last two years of the Arroyo administration and the allocations have increased many times over. It’s time to conduct a performance audit or review of the Pantawid program to find out what it has achieved so far,” Lacson said.
For 2018, the program had a budget of P89 billion. For 2019, it will get P88 billion.
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