P40-B CCT program may legalize vote buying – Anakbayan

YOUTH group Anakbayan today expressed fears that the Aquino government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program may be used to buy votes for administration allies in the 2013 elections.

With a proposed budget of more than P40 billion in 2013, Anakbayan also said the “fake anti-poverty program” is turning into “a milking cow for politicians, administration allies and bogus NGOs.”

The Commission on Audit (COA) recently criticized the CCT program saying some of the beneficiaries were not actually poor and that billions in funds remain unliquidated. Unnecessary and extravagant purchases were also recorded such as the purchase of high end Galaxy phones for “monitoring” purposes.

Despite the hike in CCT budget last year, COA also noted a decline in the number of beneficiaries of the program.

Senators also criticized overhead costs pegged at a whopping P4 billion for 2013.

“The CCT is ‘pantawid’ not for the poor but for the racketeers in government and politicians. It is a huge corruption project staring us in the face,” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.

Crisostomo fears the program will be used by the administration to buy votes and get support of local government for it candidates and parties.

“This is legalized vote buying and patronage politics. There are reports that Akbayan and other administration candidates are dangling the CCT in order to get the support of local officials. This is not surprising,” said Crisostomo.

He called on Senators to junk the program and reject the budget the administration is proposing for CCT.

“There must be an independent investigation of the program, it should be suspended immediately if not junked. The budget for CCT must be rechanneled instead to hospitals, schools and direct social service,” he said.

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