Majority of lawmakers support CCT program

October 15, 2010 10:55 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Oct. 14 — More lawmakers have expressed support in the implementation of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Arlene "Kaka" Bag-ao, co-author of House Resolution no. 529, which seeks to establish a special oversight committee in the implementation of the CCT program, said she supports the program "because it is the Aquino administration's affirmative action for the poorest of the poor."

"Of the P1.64 trillion (proposed) national budget for 2011, the P21 billion budget of the CCT which is a mere 1.28 percent of the total budget, is the sole program that targets the poorest of the poor and will benefit them directly," she said.

From the original 17 signatories when HR 529, co-authored by Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, the number of lawmakers who adopted the measure has ballooned to 100 as 19 lawmakers who earlier signed a manifesto against the implementation of the CCT program, joined the majority.

Bag-ao said there might be issues that would arise in the implementation of the program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Pangtawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), "but these do not warrant the slashing of its budget."

"It is our position and the position of the 99 other signatories of HR 529 that these issues may be addressed by a special oversight committee of Congress," she said.

Last Tuesday, former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in her interpellation of the proposed P34.3-billion budget of the DSWD in 2011, expressed doubt on the manner of implementing the CCT program, proposed for the realignment of its budget allocation to education and reduction of maternal mortality.

"…seeing that the manner of its implementation doesn't seem to guarantee the success of the program, this representation is not inclined to support such sudden and huge increase in the budget for the CCT, as proposed. I would rather that this huge budget increase clearly be used to directly contribute to universal elementary education and reduction of maternal mortality to a third of what it is today," she said.

Bag-ao, however, said that the former president, "who is up in arms against the program which she initiated, is afraid of her own ghosts."

"She (GMA) should have realized by now that unlike her administration, the Aquino administration is not notorious for corruption," she said.

Bag-ao said that their support for the CCT "is one of our expressions of our vote-of-confidence to the Aquino administration."

Contrary to the claims of those opposed to the CCT, the Akbayan party-list lawmaker said that she does not believe that the CCT is a mere pallative measure.

"We, in Akbayan, view this subsidy for the poorest of the poor as an investment that will impact on their education and health. We will not let the unholy alliance that is behind the anti-CCT manifesto stand in the way of this government's services and programs for the poorest population," she said. (PNA) RMA/LGI

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