Group slams WB, insists RP not a land of beggars

A MILITANT group yesterday assailed the World Bank (WB) over its recent move to double its assistance in the country for 2011 so the national government could fund its conditional cash transfer (CCT) program to poor Filipinos.

The leftist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) was not impressed with WB country director Bert Hofman’s decision to increase the current overall assistance to the Philippines from $ 630 million to $ 1.3 billion.

Hofman said the aid increase was approved last week at the annual meeting of the WB and International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the Philippines economic team.

In 2007, the WB approved a five-year support to CCT with $400-million loan as funding support for 2008, when the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), then under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, launched the program.

This year, Congress passed the national budget for 2011, allotting P 21 billion for CCT, an increase of P9 billion compared to last year. This elicited protests from 100 congressmen.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the increase in aid assistance merely suits the political agenda of WB-IMF to turn millions of Filipino poor into beggars and mendicants, transform them into passive political entities highly allergic or hostile to politics of change in the country.

“The WB-IMF supports the CCT program because it sees it as a socio-political instrument that would convert this nation of over 90 million starving Filipinos into a republic of mendicants and beggars rather than into a progressive nation,” Hicap said.

“The WB-IMF backed CCT program is also counter-productive in the sense that it does not create jobs and does not transform people into productive citizens but helpless folks begging for alms,” he added.

Hicap said it is “business as usual for IMF-WB” once it lures the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III enter into another cycle of debt trap and national death bed due to debt.

“Behind the triple platinum debt offer of this US-led financial monster is the cruel intention of IMF-WB to get involved in Jurassic public-private partnership (PPPs) economic escapade of the Aquino administration,” he said. D’Jay Lazaro

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