Incoming DSWD head scoffs at dole program
INCOMING Social Welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Thursday said she disapproved of institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) because it was a stop-gap measure, even as President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he intended to continue the cash doles for the country’s poorest families.
“It is a pantawid program. Why would you institutionalize a stop-gap measure?” Taguiwalo said in a television interview.
“We should legislate long-term economic initiatives that will create more sustainable jobs and livelihood,” she added.
Taguiwalo pointed out that while the government’s conditional dole program, more popularly known as the 4Ps, will continue, it is still a temporary solution to the problem of poverty.
The 4Ps, she said, is just a “bridging program” that seeks to assist the “poorest of the poor” until they find stable sources of income.
She added that the incoming administration would close the gaps in the program to address those who need the program the most.
“What we want to look at is the implementation. There are reports of selectivity. Not everyone who really needs the program are being reached. There is still an element of patronage there. We also want to check if it is being used to campaign as well as used for anti-insurgency,” she said.
A better government initiative, she said, would be the enhancement of “social protection initiatives through skills development, cash for work, livelihood projects, among others.”
Taguiwalo vowed to review the program, which gives poor families cash assistance provided their children remain in school, visit health centers, and attend family development lessons.
“We have to look at the impact on the beneficiaries as well as the community. I’m also aware of the fact that some beneficiaries are not really eligible but who are part of the program and there are those who are eligible who are not included in the program,” she said.
“There are also questions about CCT being used for political campaign like the last time,” Taguiwalo added.
Her predecessor, outgoing Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, insisted that Congress should pass a bill to institutionalize the 4Ps or the Conditional Cash Transfer program, which started in 2008, before President Benigno Aquino III steps down.
During an economic forum earlier this week, businessmen recommended the “review of the Conditional Cash Transfer program,” which Duterte had repeatedly promised to continue and even expand during the campaign.
The program currently benefits 4.6 million poor households.
But forum participants criticized the program for promoting “dependency on government.”
A total of P62.7 billion was allocated by the government for the scheme, which is enough to cover 4.6 million households this year.
Duterte said he will draw funds from sin taxes and the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp. to bankroll his expanded 4Ps program.