“Spending billions of pesos on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program won’t help reduce poverty; providing basic social services and adequate jobs for the poor will,” anti-poverty chief Liza Maza said.
The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Secretary made the statement after pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) found out that self-rated poverty for the 3rd quarter of this year rose to 10.9 million families from 10.1 million in the previous quarter.
Maza added that a review of the government’s CCT, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), is necessary; stating that human development measures should guarantee long term solutions in alleviating poverty.
“Without sustainable and positive effects to the lives of the poor, there is a need for the government to rethink its development programs to address the fundamental problems of the country,” she explained.
Almost P85 billion of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) budget for 2018 will be allocated for the expansion of the 4Ps, a 24 percent leap from the 2017 budget.
“The huge budget allocated for the 4Ps can be used to fund the improvement of educational and healthcare facilities and the provision of sustainable and productive employment to poor Filipinos,” Maza said.
Forty seven percent of the SWS poll respondents considered themselves poor, three points higher compared in June. The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 recognizes that despite the recent progress made in the economy and governance, the average citizen still thinks that there is still no immediate relief from the grind of daily living.
“Millions of Filipinos still feel they are poor even with social safety nets like the 4Ps. There is still a lot of work to be done in terms of implementing socio-economic reforms that will have greater impact on the marginalized sectors of the society,” Maza said.
The anti-poverty chief also warned that the proposed tax reforms and the jeepney modernization program may aggravate self-rated poverty among Filipinos; adding that a more progressive tax system and a mass transportation program will benefit the poor in the long run.
Education, health and shelter are three of the 10 basic needs that are being advocated by NAPC along with food and land reform, water, work, social protection, healthy environment, peace, and participation in its Kilos SAMBAYANAN (Kilos para sa Sampung Batayang Pangangailangan) advocacy campaign.
“Economic growth should translate to social policies that address multiple deprivations such as the lack of access to education, healthcare and shelter,” Maza added. ###
*Graphic inspired by Antipas Delotavo’s ‘Itak sa Puso ni Mang Juan’