TO eliminate poverty, senatorial candidate Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez yesterday pressed anew for next Congress' support to his measure institutionalizing the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).
Romualdez, who has been endorsed by presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, said his proposal expanding the CCT program is aimed at enhancing the poverty alleviation efforts of the government by extending a maximum of P46,200 and a minimum of P24,200 financial support annually to each qualified household-beneficiary as “malasakit” (compassion) to the poorest of the poor.
“We have seen the positive effect of the CCT, or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), in uplifting the lives of impoverished Filipinos. After only seven years, we can already see how it has been instrumental in improving lives,” Romualdez observed.
“We also realize, however, that the 4Ps is not without flaws. Its implementation at present is prone to bureaucratic red tape and politicking, thus leaving out qualified beneficiaries of the program,” he said.
Romualdez said institutionalizing the 4Ps through an act of Congress “will put in place safeguards from abuse and protect qualified beneficiaries from unwarranted discrimination.”
Moreover, he said, the 4Ps should not be viewed as a dole-out but as a tool to improve lives.
“Some see the increase in our population as negative. Not necessarily. The country’s best assets are still the people. So we must invest in our human capital,” Romualdez said.
He noted that after super typhoon Yolanda, Tzu Chi, a Taiwanese foundation, implemented a cash for work program in Leyte that not only helped clear and clean homes and streets but also gave affected families spending power and infused capital into the local economy, thus jumpstarting the recovery program in Tacloban and other parts of the province.
It was during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a Pampanga lawmaker, when the Department of Social Welfare and Development started implementing the CCT program in 2008.
Right now, a qualified household-beneficiary is receiving a maximum of P15,000 per year under the CCT being implemented by the government.
If handled properly, Romualdez said the CCT will “significantly improve the education status of the children and even their nutrition because it directly provides financial assistance to the poorest of the poor.”
“There is an imperative need for the expansion of the coverage of the 4Ps from the current 4,353,597 active household-beneficiaries to include more of the country’s extremely poor,” said Romualdez.