Groups say P45-B budget for CCT turns PHL into a republic of mendicants, beggars

LEFT-wing militants belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list on Wednesday assailed the proposal of Aquino administration to hike the budget for conditional cash transfer from P 34 billion this year to P 45-B in 2013.

In a joint statement, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France and Anakpawis party list Fernando Hicap said Malacanang is turning the country into a “Republic of Mendicants and Beggars” by mobilizing hard-earned taxpayers’ money into a national charity fund instead of creating jobs, implementing social justice driven land reform and providing the country the much needed resources for education, social services and mass housing.

“P45 billion is P 45 billion. This can be used to fund agricultural development and rural industrialization which is liberating, productive and thoroughgoing compared to useless and corruption driven CCT program that used to draw poor people at the charitable box-offices,” France and Hicap said in their joint statement.

“But this government of Mr. Aquino wants our people to remain eternal beggars and objects of charity for the administration’s senseless pro-poor program such as the incorrigible CCT project authored by Washington D.C and the discredited IMF- World Bank,” they added.

Both leaders said instead of approving the proposed P 45-B budget for CCT next year, congressmen and senators should pursue an in-depth investigation and audit performance of the CCT program which was introduced during the term of former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list said Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr should prioritize the oversight review of CCT and full-blown discussion on the impact of this program should also be done as both chambers tackle the proposed hike in CCT budget right after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Aquino.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad on Monday said the 30 percent increase in CCT budget next year represents two-thirds of the over-all budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman said the department is seeking a P 67-B budget next year, of which P 45-B will be spent for CCT beneficiaries. She said the increase in CCT fund will enable the department to support an additional 700,000 poor families all over the country.

At least around 3 million poor families are currently enrolled in CCT program which is frequently marred by complaints, issues of corruption and political patronage. Pamalakaya has been receiving reports and complaints from fishing areas in Sorsogon, Cavite and Laguna where CCT beneficiaries are angered with reduction or non-receipt of their monthly cash aid amounting to P 1,400 per poor household.

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