INDEPENDENT bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Monday urged the Aquino administration to allocate more funds to job creation instead of the its huge Conditional Cash Transfer dole program, or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Romualdez said President Benigno Aquino III, whose presidency will end in June next year, must exert greater effort in providing decent jobs for the Filipinos.
Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said the funds for the dole program should instead be used to train Filipinos in marketable skills, adding the government should continuously provide jobs for the poor.
“As the saying goes: we should not give them fish, we should teach them how to fish. We should teach our people not be dependent on the government by way of CCT resources,” Romualdez said.
“It is the primary duty of the state to ensure that quality and decent jobs are given to Filipinos. The need for livelihood and jobs are the real concerns now and this is a long-term solution to address the widespread poverty,” Romualdez added.
Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz also doubted that the CCT program of the government has been effective in uplifting the lives of the poor.
“The budget should instead be used for creating jobs and other important programs and projects of the government intended to uplift the lives of the Filipino people, especially the poor,” de la Cruz, a member of Romualdez’s bloc, said.
Romualdez’s bloc had earlier asked Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman to overhaul portions of its list on cash dole-out scheme for the poor to ensure that intended recipients are benefitting from it.
The group said the proposal will also help address alleged irregularities, such as double entries in the database or payroll of the beneficiaries.
A total of P62.6 billion was allocated for the 4Ps in 2014 and P62.32 billion this year.
The 2011 budget for CCT was P29.2 billion, P39.4 billion in 2012 and P44.3 billion in 2013.
In 2016’s proposed national budget, Soliman’s department has asked for a total P107.6 billion allocation for the agency –which critics have said was “too much” because of the expected increase in budget for the CCT.
The program provides cash grants to poor Filipino families based on sustained, verified compliance with certain conditions, including sending children to school, ensuring they receive regular checkups and participating in family planning and nutrition.
Under the cash assistance program implemented by the DSWD, each identified poor family receives a monthly stipend of P1,400, or a total of P15,000 every year for five years, on condition that it sends children to school and clinics for vaccination, among others.
The CCT budget during the incumbency of Mrs. Arroyo, now a Pampanga lawmaker, was P10 billion in 2010, P5 billion in 2009 and P299 million in 2008.