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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Conditional Cash Transfer Program

So in our Political Science class, we were tasked to explain and make a reaction paper about the Conditional Cash Transfer of the government which gained a lot of buzz among critics. I must say, I am now one of those critics buzzing over this hot topic. Sorry, I can't help it. It's such a juicy controversy and I cannot afford missing out on expressing my thoughts regarding this matter. :D

So here's how my report goes:

Conditional Cash Transfer Program
            The Conditional Cash Transfer Program, also known as the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino” program gained a lot of criticisms upon its emergence. The Philippines first experienced this kind of program in early 2008, where Former President Gloria Arroyo came up with this solution to alleviate poverty. The ultimate goal of this short-term strategy is for the poorest Filipino households to develop a system that may possibly elevate their state in the society. By providing funds to these poor households in a definite period of time, granting that the members must ensure that education and health are to be prioritized, President Noynoy is confident that this may be the most effective and direct way for poverty to be eliminated. Also, a part of the budget allocated for this project will be used to fund the government’s partner investments with private businesses in the country. However, for these funds to be possibly distributed, the government must establish relationships with other countries and must also consult the World Bank. Just recently, this project gained approval from other countries and it agreed that a $405 fund would be allotted for this project. In Philippine money, that sums up to Php 21 billion. As mentioned above, the CCT Program is never new to the Filipinos since Former President Gloria Arroyo has implemented this program two years ago. I don’t intend to be critical but judging by the way the Filipinos, especially the children the streets, still continue to live, I can not say that the CCT Program served its purpose well. The objective of this program is for the benefit of the least, no doubt, but it cannot be denied that external factors of the poor household itself can really affect the effectiveness and purpose of this program. When the program was implemented two years ago, a budget of Php 1, 400 was given to a poor Filipino household. The members of this household must ensure the children’s education and the family’s health. Plus, the government also suggested that this fund could also be used to support the development of a capital. Php 1, 400? Really? To be perfectly honest, Php 1, 400 is such a small amount to cover health, education and a business of a household for a month. Education alone, Php 1. 400 isn’t even enough to fund the daily expenses of going to school. Knowing that because of our magnanimously high percentage of tax, this amount can only satisfy a week of three-meal day. If I was a member of that household and I would be given that amount, I would rather use it to buy some groceries or buy lotto tickets where the alleviation of my poverty is more possible. The government can not control the household’s prerogative and that defeats the purpose of this program. I do not understand why President Noynoy still consider implementing this program since it didn’t quite work well when Former President Gloria Arroyo pursued this project. Maybe the president aims to improve this project because the purpose is undoubtedly acceptable and it suits the need of the country. But if I were to be asked, it’s a big risk to take since it involves a great deal of money. For me, this project further contributes to the country’s worsening financial health with its added burden of multi-billion loans from other countries. This program will never work if the private sectors won’t work well with the government. The government cannot even regulate properly the pricing of goods that the private sectors offer. High price is often the reason why such poor households cannot eat three times a day. This makes it even harder for poor households to invest in small-time businesses, knowing that the food of the family must be prioritized. So again, the chance of a poor man to engage in business and possibly do well in it is deprived since other matters must be prioritized. Another matter to be considered is the amount of money involved. In the past years, the country has been experiencing corruption at its worst and we cannot deny the fact that this project may also be an open door for corruption. President Noynoy must be visible with the transactions made regarding this project to suit the democratic form of government of the country for the people to be convinced that this project is really intended for the poor and not for the rich to get richer. I am not fully convinced of this solution but my doors are not closed to its possible success and I hope the Filipinos are open to it too. Since relationships have been carried out and deals have been made, we Filipinos have no other choice but to cooperate with government. Whatever transpires in this project reflects the effectiveness of the government and the cooperation of the people. So we must always bear in mind that we should never turn a blind eye to whatever occurs in our government and we must work with the officials. Vigilance coupled with cooperation will always make impossible things possible – even the wonders of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program. 

So Filipinos, the effectiveness of this project lies in our hands! Let's cooperate and help our government! :)