By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
February 4, 2016
PASAY CITY – Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct a regular survey to determine if there is a need to update the current list of beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, especially after disasters.
Doing so will ensure that that only those deserving of the government assistance will benefit from the human development project, including victims of calamities that frequently hit the country, he said.
“Marapat na magkaroon ng regular survey lalo na pagkatapos ng isang kalamidad, bagyo, El Niño, o La Niña na nakaapekto sa isang lugar para malaman sino ba ang mga nasalanta at bagong nangangailangan ng proteksyon at pagkalinga ng ating CCT program,” Escudero said.
Currently, beneficiaries of the CCT, or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, are selected through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), which identifies and locates poor households in every community.
There were 4,353,597 families under the CCT program as of August last year, including 570,056 indigenous households.
This year, the number of enrollees is projected to reach 4.62 million families, or 184,000 more than last year’s beneficiaries.
The CCT program gives out a monthly stipend of up to P1,400 to each family beneficiary provided their children regularly attend school and the mothers, if pregnant, seek pre- and post-natal care, as part of government’s efforts to improve the health, nutrition and education of children from the poorest sector of society.
The leading vice-presidential bet last year also urged the DSWD to strengthen its screening procedure for recipients of the CCT program following reports quoting a study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which showed that P19 billion of the P62 billion allocated for the CCT program in 2014 did not go to the poor.
“We have to regularly do an assessment of the list of beneficiaries to ensure that we are not wasting resources to those who are not deserving of the aid intended only to the most vulnerable sectors of society,” Escudero said.
The veteran lawmaker reiterated his support for the program, but vowed to push for the inclusion of a livelihood package for its beneficiaries if he wins the vice-presidential race in the May elections.
Incorporating a livelihood component in the CCT, he said, will equip recipients with skills and training to help them become self-sufficient and help them wean away from government dole-outs.
Two-thirds of DSWD’s P104.1 billion budget for 2016, or about P62.7 billion, will go to the development program.