CHICAGO (JGL) – Despite calls for the abolition of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman assured its critics Saturday (August 9) evening that the P62.6-Bilion (US$1.6-B) program is not a “pork barrel” program being doled out by local politicians to favored constituents.
“Beneficiaries of these program have been determined long before local politicians have been elected into office,” Secretary Soliman told radio host former Senator and former DILG Sec. Joey D. Lina over streaming DZMM 630 radio program, “Sagot Ko Yan!,” monitored live in Chicago, Illinois.
“But they can recommend beneficiaries and we will be glad to validate the situation of the beneficiary by going to their homes.”
“Simply politicians telling us that a certain family deserves to be in the CCT program will not be enough. We will go to the home of the prospective beneficiary and find out if the family lacks lighting and water facilities and other needs for survival that they cannot conceal from us.” Soliman explained. “If beneficiaries told us they lost their homes from typhoon, it is very easy to verify because we inspect their home address. Kung wala kang makitang bahay, talagang wala silang bahay. (If you don’t see their home, they don’t have a home.). Simple.”
“And we do not handle any money either. The money is deposited with the Land Bank or Rural Bank cooperatives and Remittance Centers, where beneficiary may withdraw thru ATM. And in the case of those beneficiaries, who have no ATM access, the Land Bank, Rural Bank and Remittance Centers employees will take the money to the beneficiaries,” she said.
2 ROBBERIES HAVE OCCURRED
For security reason, DSWD does not disclose when the beneficiaries get the money as there had been two occasions when beneficiaries were robbed off benefits.
“Pagsugpo lang talaga sa kahirapan itong pera sa programa na kung tawagin ay Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino program.” (This is just really a temporary help from a program called Helping a Filipino Family Survival Program.)
Soliman said there are certain strict criteria that a certain family needs to qualify.
Family beneficiary must have 0 to 18-year-old children, whose combined salary of the parents would not be enough to support the education and health needs of the children. Only a maximum three children of a family are covered by the program.
Each child up to elementary years of age will be entitled to P300 (US$6.80) a month; while a child in high school will be entitled to P500 (US$11.30) a month until the child reaches 18 years of age when the benefits end. Children must not be earning income for the family to discourage child labor.
Each family will also be entitled to P500 (US$11.30) of the family, except the father, for their health care.
There are about 4.3-M families that are benefiting in this program at a cost of P57-B (US$1.3-B) while the remaining balance of 10 percent goes to administrative cost for the salaries of personnel carrying out the program, financial and capital expenses.
Secretary Soliman said her department is making a monthly financial report of the cash distribution to Congress. The current budget for the program costs P62.6-B (US$1.6-B). The proposed 2015 budget will be raised to P64.7-B (US$1.7-B).
There have been 10-M families, which have benefited from the program that started from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term in 2008.
Part of the responsibilities of the mother is to attend to family child session, which encourages them to make sure their children attend school and are provided health care education. Mothers also learn values formation, self-employment skills that they can use to earn a living.
Mothers, who venture into business are extended loans at a maximum of P10,000 (US$227.00), which was to be repaid as soon as they are able to make it grow.
Secretary Soliman says that the loan program is repaid from 85-87 percent.
She said if local municipal officials will claim credit for dole out of CCT, these politicians could be administratively charged for violating “Anti-E-Pal” law before the Department of Interior and Local Government. Lina, a lawyer, clarified that if it will be a city mayor or provincial governor, who violates the “E-Pal” law, the complaint will have to be filed with the Office of the President.