Thursday, September 29, 2011

More poor Filipinos to benefit from CCT program

Shoppers walk past two beggars outside a mall in the Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 29, 2011) - The Aquino government plans to enroll an additional 700,000 beneficiaries for the so-called Conditional Cash Transfer program for next year raising hopes that it would improve the lives of the impoverished, Senator Franklin Drilon said Thursday.

Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that as of September 5, a total of 2.23 million households were registered in the program.

“Right now, the beneficiaries are placed at 2.3 million households and by the end of 2012, with an additional budget of P39.4 billion, the beneficiaries will reach up to 3 million households,” he said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

The Aquino administration is allotting P39.4 billion for the program - which took off in 2008 - in the 2012 budget, from this year’s P21 billion funding, to cover more beneficiaries, he said.

“If you are to judge the CCT program on the basis of the assessment so far of various agencies, indeed there is a reason to be optimistic about the success of the program,” he said.

Senators Edgardo Angara and Panfilo Lacson backed the CCT, also called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, saying they were generally satisfied with the way the program has been implemented under the Aquino administration.

The CCT is an allowance scheme for poor households with children 0-14 years old that will require beneficiary families to send their children to school and have regular visits to health centers. It is a five-year program for every family enrolled, and the first enrollees started in 2008.

Drilon said the World Bank made its finding that in its three years of implementation, the program has shown “positive impact” on the beneficiaries and the conditionalities have helped improve the education and health of the children.

“Anecdotal evidence shows that net education enrolment rates of children in beneficiary households have risen,” said the Washington-based institution in its Social Protection Note released in May 2011.

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