MANILA—The flaws in the implementation of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is actually the reflection of the flawed program itself.
Lito Ustarez, executive vice chair of the labor center, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said in a statement that the Aquino government is wrong in thinking that the 4Ps will eradicate poverty in the country.
“There is no way the CCT program can reduce poverty. It may appear to be cushioning the impact of poverty on the poorest, but in the long view, it is actually causing greater poverty in keeping the causes of poverty unaddressed,” Ustarez said.
He also argued that flaws in the program’s implementation are being used as scapegoat to deflect attention from the highly-flawed principle behind this dole-out program.
““Noynoy (President Benigno C. Aquino III’s moniker) even has the guts to brag about expanding the CCT’s coverage, when that only means that poverty in the country is still not being resolved. Expanding the CCT only becomes necessary for the government because of its failure to provide decent jobs with living wages and affordable social services to the country’s poor,” he added.
The government wants the funding for the 4Ps be increased by at least P16 billion by next year. The current funds allocated for the CCT program is P21 billion.
“This budget increase may be good news for those implementing the CCT program, but it certainly is bad news for the Filipino workers and people as it means the persistence, even worsening, of poverty in the country. More CCT band-aids for the cancer that is poverty, hunger and unemployment is certainly not good news,” Ustarez explained.
The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey said that the number of self-rated poor in thePhilippinesdropped by at least two per cent (2%), from 51 percent in the year 2010 to 49 per cent this year.
Coincidentally, there is also a significant decrease to the number of ‘hungry’ Filipinos—from 20.5 per cent in March 2010, to 15.1 per cent in March this year.
However, the two surveys, which were published in July 4 and 11 respectively, did not mention the direct or even indirect correlation of the expanded implementation of the 4Ps to the reduction of the impoverished and severely hungry Filipinos.
The independent think-tank, IBON Foundation, Inc asserts that instead of dole-outs, the government should focus in genuine poverty-reduction efforts.
“The poor and worsening welfare of tens of millions of Filipinos is a serious development challenge. A genuine poverty-reduction effort means fundamental changes in economic policy towards improving the country’s domestic productive sectors. The severe income, wealth and asset inequities in the country also mean that radical redistributive reforms in favor of the poor majority are in order. Universal access by all Filipinos to health and education will be more likely achieved through strengthened public health and education systems, not privatized ones and certainly not by selective, targeted and temporary interventions. If these progressive socioeconomic policies were in place then programs such as the 4Ps/CCTs would not be necessary – and without such policies no amount of 4Ps/CCTs will ever be enough,” IBON said. (Noel SalesBarcelona, for CBCPNews.com)