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Gov’t defends CCT from doleout claims

The Conditional Cash Transfer program is not a doleout project that promotes dependency on the government, Malacañang said yesterday, amid reports that some businessmen have asked the next administration to review the Aquino pet project.

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. defended that the welfare program aims to empower the poor families by giving cash grants for health, nutrition, and education. “Napatunayan naman kasi sa nakaraang anim na taon na kung maayos ang pangangasiwa ng ganitong programa, ito ay definitely hindi isang doleout at definitely din hindi ito lumilikha ng dependency,” Coloma said over government radio.

From the start of his term in 2010, President Aquino actually sought to remove the “doleout mentality” of the anti-poverty programs inherited from the previous administration, according to Coloma. He said the President has transformed the poverty alleviation projects into “well-considered programs that build capacity and create opportunity among the poor and the marginalized in the country.”

“Mula pa sa umpisa ay determinado na si Pangulong Aquino na ang ating anti-poverty program, hinding-hindi ito maituturing na doleout dahil iyong salitang doleout ang ibig sabihin ay inabot lang. Merong kamay na nakabukas, inabot lang iyon, ibinigay iyon, at kinalimutan na. Hindi naman po ganyan iyan,” Coloma said.

Under the CCT program also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the government identifies the poorest of the poor through the National Housing Targeting System for Poverty Reduction. The poor families are given monthly cash subsidies in exchange for sending their children to school and undergoing regular health checkups.

So far, 4.6 million families are benefiting from the CCT program also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Coloma said recent studies showed more than seven million Filipinos have been lifted out of poverty with the help of the CCT program. He recalled that many poll candidates have even promised to expand the CCT program, recognizing its impact on uplifting the lives of poor families.

In a recent gathering in Davao City, hundreds of businessmen recently presented a 10-point wishlist to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte that includes an appeal to review the CCT program.

The businessmen claimed that the program has promoted “dependency on the government” and instead proposed other social protection initiatives through skills development, cash for work, and livelihood projects, among others. Duterte has already received the copy of the businessmen’s proposals and promised to consider their suggestions. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)