COMMENTARY: Leisurely spending in 4Ps

Feb 17-23,2011

So Pinoy’s proclivity to leisurely spend despite hard times and limited money vis-a-vis Tsinoy’s noted and long-cherished thrift is noted again in the case of still undetermined number of beneficiaries of the national government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4 Ps) in Davao del Norte. They are doing the hard habit to break.

That leisurely spending is naked in shopping malls and shang-shang bazaars offering you lots of cheap China-made goods to buy out from your less of PH pesos on hand. It’s the immediate relative of Pinoy’s ningas cogon and collective amnesia that forgets, for one, the first EDSA Revolution we had in February 1986, and from which model, People Power uprisings in other countries were made by brave and united peoples like the recent one in Egypt that toppled a dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, whose reign started when the over 40s now were still in their high school days.

Social welfare and development officers now in Davao del Norte noted and observed cases of misspending of the CCT cash grants when the money supposed to go to the nutrition and schooling of CCT beneficiary children went as bets to tong-its (Last 2 was forgetten), as payment to existing debts, to videoke singing and the like. Who can actually prevent someones from the thousands of the CCT beneficiaries in the province from misspending for leisure or for quick spending, when the government directly gives the cash to them, and by putting the money in their hands, they now own that money and they like the Talaingod natives have all the rights under the sun where to spend that money after all those long years that they have no much money in their pockets and circulating in their households? There’s this intergenerational poverty of the extremely poor households long existing that the government take notice of this and intervenes to directly give them cash to be withdrawn from the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). It’s true, “there’s empowerment” in seeing the Talaingod mothers knowing now how to deal with that ATM that is not found in Talaingod. Is the ATM only for literate, professionals, moneyed? Of course not, as this time around the millions of penniless in the country are afforded the chance to deal with the ATM and happily withdraw their money deposited by the government for them to buy nutritious food and school supplies for the schooling children while what the government only asked from the beneficiary parents is to have their children aged 1-14 regularly immunized, treated and checked up in health centers and diligently support them through the CCT cash so their children won’t drop out from school, skip or absent from classes, and as parents, to get actively involved in purok and barangay assemblies and endeavors. So long as beneficiaries comply the conditionalities, they won’t be delisted and disqualified from the CCT or 4 Ps, and never mind that reckless spending and misspending.

Don’t delay the spending, this is a government project on the run. (cha monforte)

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