Cash transfer to continue under Binay presidency

Posted on September 07, 2015

SHOULD HE WIN in next year’s elections, Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay reiterated on Sunday that he will continue the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

“We will continue and improve the CCT program. But we will ensure better targeting of beneficiaries... Leakages in the program have to be addressed decisively,” Mr. Binay said in a statement in a mixture of English and Filipino. Mr. Binay said that the program should be complemented by bigger government spending for health centers, hospitals, facilities, together with less expensive medicine.

In a separate text message, Office of the Vice-President’s Media Affairs Head Joselito S.J. Salgado said that Mr. Binay will act to “plug loopholes in project implementation, order regular review and audit of beneficiaries’ list and complement CCT with investments in health and education.”

Mr. Binay said that there are poor local government units that fail to deliver sufficient health services because limited finances result in a lack of manpower and facilities.

“CCT release requires beneficiary to go to health center for regular checkups and school attendance but government isn’t spending enough on improving health care and education,” said Mr. Salgado.

The government’s CCT program, officially known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is patterned with other CCT schemes in developing countries. It has a P62.3-billion budget this year.

To qualify for the program, families must be identified as poor through Listahanan formerly known as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction. Families must have children aged 0-18 or have a pregnant family member and must be willing to comply with set conditions of the government.

The CCT program covers a maximum of three children. Conditions include availing of pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women, attendance of family development sessions by parents, having children enrolled in school with at least 85% attendance per month and regular medical checkups for children 0-5 years old.

A household can receive a cash assistance of up to P1,400 a month. There is a P500-per-month allocation for one household as health grant and P300 per month for 10 months as education grant for up to three children. The cash assistance will be received for a period of five years.

Mr. Binay said he wants to continue the CCT because “his long experience in local governance has taught him the importance of continuity, predictability and sustainability.”

Mr. Binay said he will also continue the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.

“This is but a continuation of the government and private sector partnerships we started in Makati, notably at the University of Makati. These partnerships have moved the local economy forward and provided jobs for Makati residents, which should be the end goal of such partnerships,” said Mr. Binay.

Mr. Binay said that inadequacies and delays have resulted in government underspending and affected inclusive growth in the country.

Mr. Binay said he will take action to hasten the implementation of PPP projects by pushing for the passage of amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law and Right-of-Way Bill and addressing bureaucratic inefficiencies. -- Elizabeth E. Escaño