Wednesday, March 11, 2015

PHIL. PESOS 79,000,000,000.00 CCT 2015 BUDGET

There are different ways of understanding and thus evaluating the rationale, the nature and objective of the now famous/infamous Conditional Cash Transfer – be this “Modified” or otherwise. There are however certain affirmations about this novel institution that became a formal and operative reality under the present administration. But then, there are also some valid questions that are raised about it – specially now that its budget is being raised from the amount of Phil. Pesos 64,000,000,000.00 in 2014, this is Phil. Pesos 15,000,000,000.00 more for 2015. How much more will it be in 2016 – a signal and critical year – is not yet said nor revealed.

In the realm of positivism and optimism, the CCT with such a big actual and an even bigger designed budget for next year, infallibly proves the following truly edifying concern and attention of the Executive Department: Its edifying and inspiring care for poor people in the Country. Its noble and generous attention to families in want of resources and thus in need of financial assistance. Its really admirable and praiseworthy intent to enable children to have their education such as in terms of having food and clothing, having paper and pencil.

In the sphere of sincerity and candor, the CCT phenomenon with such an ever increasing budget, only goes to prove the following rather lamentable if not also detestable facts in the Philippines after some five years of governance of the present administration: The implied admission that there is now progressively even more poverty and misery in the Country, all affirmations and declamations to the contrary notwithstanding. The promotion of mendicancy and dependency among needy Filipinos, the imperative of buying the patronage of the poor people in view of the 2016 elections.

Be what it may, it does not take much intelligence to understand that the government should not promote the spirit of mendicancy among people in need. In other words, it is not only right but also proper that instead of downright almsgiving, the really big amount of money behind the CCT should be instead used to assist the poor in slowly being self-reliant, in progressively gaining their self-respect. How? Use CCT's truly huge budget in helping the poor help themselves – such as by inspiring, guiding, teaching them how to have livelihood ventures, how to put up and manage cooperatives, and the like.

Some weeks ago, the CCT in fact became not only infamous but also detestable; not only questionable but even shameful: It “collected” the poor from a certain section of Metro Manila, “hid” them from the sight of a precisely pro-poor visitor, “housed” them in a distant and expensive resort. And after the said visit, the poor are back to “normal”. They are now again digging garbage cans for food, again begging here and there, again sleeping on the sidewalks – as usual. In other words, the CCT venture should go beyond giving alms – in the spirit of the saying: Those who do not want to work, let them not also eat.” This is not cruelty but reality. This is not insulting but teaching what is right and true.