Saturday, March 1, 2014

Senate slashed DSWD publicity budget to enrol 100,000 Yolanda victims in CCT

MANILA-Twenty thousand additional Yolanda-stricken families will be included  in the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program this year, courtesy of a Senate amendment in the 2014 national budget which slashed P336 million from the program’s overhead in order to enroll that many typhoon victims.

The senator who authored the amendment, Ralph Recto, said that as a result of the Senate action, an equivalent of 100,000 more individuals in Yolanda areas will be brought under the coverage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), CCT’s official name.

“Calamity victims should not live from one relief bag to another. One of the best forms of aid is the 4Ps because it is predictable, guaranteed and sustained.  Yan ang tunay na pantawid, hindi pansamantala o panandalian,” Recto, who is also Senate President Pro-Tempore, said.

With their enrollment in 4Ps, Recto said the 20,000 families will receive P16,800 this year, in monthly payouts of P1,400, provided that they comply with certain “conditionalities” like regular attendance of their children in school.      

He explained that what the Senate did to fund the enrollment of 20,000 families is cut the 4Ps administrative expenses from the proposed P5.41 billion to P5.03 billion.

“Specifically, what was reduced was the budget for publicity, from P141 million to P40 million, and the budget for training, from P533 million to P218 million, and the cuts were mainly used to accommodate more 4Ps beneficiaries,“ he said.  

As a result, the cash grant component of the 4Ps budget rose from P57.2 billion to P57.57 billion. If its administrative overhead of P5.03 billion is included, the total budget of 4Ps for the year is P62.2 billion.    

This amount will be used to put 4,461,732 households under the regular 4Ps program.  In addition, 4.3 million high school students will be enrolled in the “extended CCT” program in which each will be given a monthly stipend of  P500.

Recto praised Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senate finance committee head Sen. Francis Escudero for “accepting and defending this and other calamity rehabilitation amendments” which made their way to the 2014 General Appropriations Act.

Other Recto amendments which were consolidated in the 2014 national budget were the creation of the P20 billion Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Fund, the increase of the Calamity Fund from P7.5 billion to P13 billion, and earmarking P20 billion in the Unprogrammed Fund for reconstruction.

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