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Aquino: Future of poor hangs on my successor

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 04:47 AM January 14, 2016
PRESIDENT AQUINO ATTENDS CONFERENCE ON CCT IN THE PH/ JAN 13,2016 President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the Conference on Sustaining the Gains of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) in the Philippines at the Auditorium of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City on Wednesday (January 13, 2016) INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the Conference on Sustaining the Gains of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) in the Philippines at the Auditorium of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City on Wednesday. JOAN BONDOC

PRESIDENT Aquino on Wednesday said that the future of millions of Filipinos still relying on the conditional cash transfer program will be in the hands of his successor as he made another pitch for his chosen successor—but without naming Mar Roxas—at a conference to assess the gains of the government poverty alleviation program at the Asian Development Bank.

The ADB, which has long supported the program, is set to approve another $400-million loan to sustain the CCT program.

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“It is my deepest hope that, coming into the elections, our people have realized that they can demand for more good governance, and I believe that they will choose the right leader—one who has integrity and experience, who will sustain our gains, and who will definitely put country above self,” the President said in his speech.

“Sustaining, strengthening, and refining the CCT will be left [in] the hands of my successor. That person will be confronted with a very simple question, which I myself faced: Will he help his countrymen help themselves? Or will he choose the counterproductive path, adhere to a policy of sustaining our people’s dependence on those in power, and solely take on the burden of determining everyone’s future? Will he reestablish a system of patronage, and allow our resources to diminish, as the mechanisms of government to feed, clothe, shelter, and provide are used to enhance the politics of personality?” he said.

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Mr. Aquino said the next President may even choose to discontinue the CCT, also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or 4Ps, and that will leave “the fate of millions of our countrymen in limbo.”

He warned that the Philippines “would definitely lose its hard-earned momentum” if the poverty alleviation program is discontinued.

He said it was obvious to the Filipino people how “daang matuwid”, referring to his “straight path” mantra, is the “correct path, with proven results, towards ending the vicious cycle of poverty.”

The CCT is one of the banner programs of the Aquino administration as the President winds down his six-year term.

Mr. Aquino said the CCT under his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was “highly-politicized” so that he had to  reform the program. This included cleaning up the National Household Targeting System, allowing government to identify real eligible households.

Since 2010, the Aquino administration has increased the budget of the CCT program from P10 billion to P62 billion in 2015, raising the number of beneficiaries from some 786,000 poor households to almost 4.4 million poor households and homeless families.

According to the President, 10.18 million children are benefiting from the CCT at present with 1.9 million of them now in high school, leading to a significant decrease in the number of out-of-school youth.

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“Some quarters have failed to understand the key principle behind the CCT: its effects are generational. All the beneficiaries now covered by the program, and through them society in general, will only be able to reap the full benefits of government’s support long after I return to private life—which has now become a matter of months,” Mr. Aquino said.

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TAGS: Aquino Administration, conditional cash transfer program, Elections 2016, Mar Roxas, Nation, news
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