Press Release
August 5, 2013

Recto calls for mandatory CCT enrolment of homeless,
relocated estero dwellers

How do you prevent resettled Metro Manila estero residents from returning to their old dangerous dwellings?

Enroll them in the government's conditional cash transfer (CCT) program with the added condition that they can only receive the monthly stipend for as long as they stay put in their new homes.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto called for "automatic enrolment in the CCT for the homeless, for those living along esteros, for those who call karitons home, or those whose condos are under bridges."

"Among the poor, the homeless are the poorest, so if CCT is meant for those who have the least, then they are the ones who must get it first," Recto said.

For those who will be moved away from flood-prone and other danger zones, Recto said a one-time relocation allowance might not be enough.

"If we want an assistance that will help them get back on their feet, it must be of the sustained kind, like what the CCT provides. If we want them to put down roots fast in their new community, CCT can help in this 'anchoring,'" Recto said.

"Iyan ang mainam na pantawid sa kanilang bagong buhay," he added.

While he bats for the grant of cash aid to relocatees, Recto said there should be an "exit program and an expiry date" for such help. "It should never be a permanent thing. We do not want them to develop a lifetime dependence on dole."

Under the CCT, of which the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4 Ps is the biggest component, a poor family will receive as much as P1,400 a month provided the children regularly attend school and go to government clinics for check up.

Run by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the 4 Ps has a budget of P44.3 billion this year, enough to cover 3.9 million families.

Recto said this will balloon to P62.6 billion next year, to accommodate 4.3 million families, take in an additional 131,000 homeless families and extend its coverage to 10.2 million high school students, the last two costing P2 billion and P12.3 billion respectively.

But if the above allocations cannot absorb the magnitude of "danger zone" dwellers in Metro Manila who will be relocated - 20,000 families in the next 12 months out of the estimated total of 104,000 - Recto raised the possibility of "creating budget space out of the CCT management budget."

He said the CCT program for 2014 has an "operating cost and administrative overhead" of P5.4 billion. "Kaya naman baka pwedeng mabawasan ito ng konti at ilipat sa mga walang bahay."

Recto said next year's CCT has a proposed allocation of P3.38 billion for salaries and wages; P533 million for trainings; P550 million for bank service fees; P141 million for information materials and publicity; P356 million for monitoring and evaluation; P372 million for administrative expenses and P80 million for capital outlays.

"Sa bawat P10 milyong matitipid, pwede tayo magdagdag ng 600 na pamilyang mahihirap sa programa," Recto said.

As the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Finance that will hear the DSWD budget, Recto said he will "ask agency officials if this amount for CCT operating cost can still be reduced to a level that will not, however, jeopardize efficiency."

"Being on the frontlines, they are in the best position to answer. Kasi kung may kaltas ay baka naman magkawindang-windang ang isang magandang programa," Recto said.

He said enrolling transferred informal settlers in CCT will compel government to build schools and clinics in or near relocation sites.

"Kung kabilang sila sa CCT, kailangan pa rin nilang papasukin ang kanilang mga anak sa paaralan. Ang implikasyon nito ay kailangang magtayo ang pamahalaan ng mga eskwelahan sa relocation centers," Recto said.

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