Group invites Sec. Dinky for a public debate on CCT

A militant urban poor group challenged Department of Social Welfare and Development Sec. to join in a public debate to argue with the group on the effectiveness of the government’s five year-old dole-out program as the Aquino administration’s flagship poverty-reduction program.

In a letter submitted yesterday to the office of the Secretary, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), a national alliance of urban poor organizations, invited the secretary to lead the affirmative side in a public debate set on February 9 in an urban poor community by the Payatas dumpsite, an area in Quezon City.

The letter signed by Carlito Badion, Kadamay national secretary-general, said the group is “expecting the dear Secretary to side with the pro-CCT block.”

“We invited someone from the church to serve as the moderator in the said debate,” the letter added.

In a statement released to media on Monday, Badion stressed that the aim of the public debate is for the “dear Secretary to have a first-hand experience of the poverty among the urban poor that actually aggravated during the 5-year implementation of the CCT.” This justifies the setting of the public debate, which is an urban poor community in Dona Nicasia Compound, Barangay Commonwealth.

Lawmakers, church groups and other civic organizations who are concerned with the worsening poverty in the country will be observers in the said public debate.

Started in January 2008, CCT has been running as the government’s flagship program in poverty-reduction consuming some P120B pesos from the cavern of the taxpayers.

However, militant groups like Kadamay believe that CCT has not been effective in addressing the ever-rising poverty and hunger inflicting some 80% of Filipinos.

Higher poverty, hunger rates with CCT

Kadamay cited a recent Social Weather Station surveys which say that both hunger and poverty rates during the last quarter of 2012 are even higher than the 14-year average rates.

“If Secretary Soliman would accept our invitation, she has to explain to the Dona Nicasia residents what is behind the increase in poverty rate despite the five-year implementation of the CCT,” Badion stressed.

At the end of 2012, the CCT has at least 3 million poor family beneficiaries nationwide, the biggest number of beneficiaries in the program’s history.

The Aquino administration targets at least 2 million more CCT beneficiaries by the end of his term in 2016. It has allotted some P44.2 billion from the 2013 national budget to fund the dole-out program this year.

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