CCT gains ally in Senate-A A +A
Sunday, November 7, 2010
FROM a critic to a convert, Senator Franklin Drilon defended the P21-billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Aquino administration, a project he questioned during a Senate hearing in September.
"Sinuri na po namin noon at yan ay binusisi nang husto. Ilang beses kaming nag hearing sa Department of Social Welfare and Development budget," he said in an interview over radio dzBB.
He noted that there are enough mechanisms in place to make sure that the government subsidies will not be abused.
The senator explained that the P21 billion will not be released in one setting as it will depend on the agency’s ability to implement it.
"Ang aking estimate, sabihin na nating P2 million o P1 million mahigit sa isang buwan. Kung hindi naman nauubos ay hindi naman ire-release ang pangalawang portion," he explained.
Drilon deferred approval of the CCT program in September, saying he wanted the DSWD to give more details on how it would be implemented.
Amid Drilon's endorsement, the CCT still faces opposition at the Senate.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile tasked Drilon on keeping tabs on the implementation of the program as the former seemed unconvinced of the DSWD's ability to handle it.
"You are dealing with a large amount and a lot of recipients. Even if you want to check each one if they receive the money, it is humanly impossible," he said.
The CCT program will give poor families cash subsidies for keeping their children in school, having them vaccinated, and bringing them to health centers for medical check ups.
Enrile said he would prefer recipients of the CCTs to perform community service for the subsidies they will receive.
He said beneficiaries have to earn the subsidies by "planting trees, cutting grass in order to beautify our surroundings, or do some improvement on the river banks in order to protect from flooding." (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)