Press Release
August 4, 2013

On CCT Project
Cayetano: More than relief, focus on rehabilitation of disaster victims

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the government to institutionalize mechanisms that can provide rehabilitation aside from relief to victims of unforeseen calamities and disasters such as fires and typhoons through its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.

Cayetano explained that aside from increasing the allocation for CCT in the national budget to increase the number of beneficiaries, the government can expand the program further to provide capital to poor families and those who are victims of calamities and disasters as a mechanism for rehabilitation.

"When a victim, for example, is drowning, the first thing to do is provide relief by trying to lift him out of the water. But once he's out of danger, next thing to do is to equip him with skills and resources to avoid danger," Cayetano said in Filipino, as he emphasized the importance of initiating rehabilitation efforts after relief has been provided to victims of calamities and disasters.

Earlier, the Office of the Senate Majority Leader set up a Medical Mission and Rice Distribution project at T. Paez Elementary School to provide much-needed assistance to the victims of a fire incident that happened last July 24.

Cayetano personally visited the area in Pasay City to reach out to 324 families affected by a fire incident that destroyed 250 houses and a public school. Around 1000 to 1500 beneficiaries were given necessary attention in the medical mission. Families were also provided with one sack of rice each.

"Relief operations organized by local governments and private institutions like what we had in Malibay come fast. But the problem is the next step which should address the need for the rehabilitation of the lives of these victims," he pointed out.

The senator stressed that while initial relief in the form of goods are needed to help victims of unforeseen calamities and disasters such as fire incidents and floods, the importance of initiating projects for the rehabilitation of these victims cannot be undermined.

"My proposal to the critics of the CCT program is not to scrap or lessen it. Instead, my proposal is to improve and enhance it to help poor families start their own small businesses," the Senator said adding that if utilized properly, CCT would be able to help victims 'get back on their feet' by being productive small entrepreneurs as a mechanism to 'rehabilitate' their lives and regain what they lost.

Cayetano has suggested that government enact a second-tier program complimentary to the CCT program that is currently in effect. He said he envisions the "CCT 2" to be a mechanism that will provide access to capital for poor families and victims of calamities or disasters to start or sustain their own micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME).

"The program will cater to working class people in need of capital to start their own business," he said as he suggested a procedure wherein a simple certificate indicating that a person has gone through a livelihood seminar would be enough to allow a borrower to avail of a loan grant.

Cayetano explained that enabling the growth of the small and medium enterprise (SME) industry in the country will ensure that Filipinos will have the means to take advantage of the country's economic gains and provide a decent life for their families.

"Providing capital to those affected by disasters will equip them with means to start their livelihood again instead of relying on relief efforts from government and other organizations," he added.

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