Drilon to slash P39B CCT budget

Senator Franklin Drilon said on Thursday that Congress has agreed to slash 3% percent from the present 10% administrative cost in the implementation of P39.45 billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“We want to reduce it to about 7 percent from 10 percent of the total program budget,” said Drilon in an ambush interview after the Congressional hearing, adding the savings will be channeled to cash grants to expand the beneficiaries.

During Thursday’s joint congressional hearing on the Aquino administration’s flagship poverty alleviation program, Drilon  sent a warning to DSWD that he will scrutinize the seemingly high administrative cost for CCT amounting to P4 billion in 2012, which will further increase to P4.48 billion in 2013.

“Your budget is far in excess of what is acceptable as administrative cost. Given the magnitude of this program, we should be more accurate in budgeting in terms of administrative cost,” said Drilon, who also chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman agreed to revisit their administrative cost, saying that the administrative cost of a similar program in Mexico is only 6.8 percent of the total budget cost.

Moreover, Drilon learned from Soliman that the number of Filipino households benefiting from CCT has already reached 3,014,586 households as of June 2012.

Of which, Mindanao has the highest number of beneficiaries totaling 1,294,946 followed by Luzon with 1,030,078 and Visayas with 689,562 beneficiaries, noted Drilon.

Drilon added that the CCT has already covered 138 cities and 1,261 municipalities in 79 provinces.

Also, Soliman told Drilon and House Committee on Appropriations chairman Joseph Emilio A. Abaya that her agency has already released cash grants amounting P9.04 billion as of end-May covering the period of January to April. Of the amount, P4.63 billion comprised health grants and P4.42 billion are for education grants.

Both Drilon and Abaya chair the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures that is created to review and evaluate the expenditure programs of all government agencies and assess effectiveness and impact of government activities, programs and projects.

CCT or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) provides cash grants to beneficiaries to be used for health and nutrition and for educational expenses, noted Drilon. The beneficiaries were identified through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction.

It provides a monthly stipend composed of up to P1,400, on condition that they send or keep their children in school, that their children receive immunization and that mothers avail of pre-natal and other check-ups, added Drilon.

Moreover, Soliman reported that her agency is continuously validating the beneficiaries to address inclusion errors and to maintain a clean database of beneficiaries.

The DSWD, in fact, has taken out 29,946 households from the list, and deactivated around 140,268 that will undergo further validation to determine if they are qualified beneficiaries, said Drilon.

Meanwhile, Drilon said that the proposed budget of the DSWD to implement the CCT in 2013 is P44.26 billion, an increase of 12.2 percent from its 2012 allocation of P39.45 billion.

“This will translate to additional 702,790 household beneficiaries for 2013 from 3,106,979 this year,” said Drilon.

He added that the agency is expecting that out of total of 3,809,769 beneficiaries next year, around 300 million will be graduating from the program after being enrolled to the program for five years.

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