Conditional Cash Transfer money spent to tong-its – Panabo SWD exec

Feb 17-23,2011

Undetermined number of poor beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program that gives directly cash to them were using the money they recently received or withdrew from ATM machines not for the intended purposes but as bets to card game tong-its, payment of their debts or for leisurely spending like videoke singing, bared the chief of Panabo City’s social welfare office.

CCT, otherwise known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a poverty reduction strategy of the national government through the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development that gives cash grants for the educational and health needs of the children, aged 1-14, of the identified extremely poor households in towns and cities.

“Dako man gud ang kwarta kay na lump sum man ang pag-release for the year 2010 mao nagamit sa lain sa ubang beneficiaries (It’s because the CTT money was in big amount as it was released in lump sum for the year 2010, that’s why it was misused by other beneficiaries),” said Eugenio Ortigoza, the city social welfare and development officer.

“Not all of them, but we were able to monitor cases of unintended spending of CCT money,” he clarified.

Panabo City alone has 374 CCT beneficiaries coming from only two barangays- Cagangohan and San Isidro, which were the the only ones identified barangays of the national office of DSWD in the National Household Targetting Survey July last year.

In the survey, barangays Cagangohan and San Isidro turned out to be having the highest poverty incidence in the city, and from that the qualified CCT beneficiaries were drawn. Over 8,000 households were found out to be living below the poverty threshold across all the city’s 40 barangays.

Ortigoza said that in the city each CCT beneficiary received ranging cash from P9,000 to P15,000 last January 25 at the Panabo City gym. The money released was for the whole year 2010. CCT program gives a qualified family P500 per month for health and nutrition purposes and P300 per month per child who goes to school from kinder to high school, or from 0 to 14 years old.

In a DSWD-supevised cash giving last Jan. 25 at Panabo Gym, CCT beneficiaries happily lined up on that day with with the Land Bank cashier disbursing cash in over-the-counter payment to them.

Ortigoza admitted though that monitoring their expenditure of the CCT money is a difficult thing to do, saying “di sila maisa-isa (we can’t monitor them individually).”

What his office can only do is to look the end results in the conditionalities required to the qualfied beneficiaries under the program, he said.

CCT program imposes conditions to beneficiaries such as the need of the schooling children to have 85 percent of attendance in the school year or not to drop out from school, for parents to have their children immunized, checked up in the health center, or for them to attend in nutrition activities, purok and barangay assemblies and undertakings, and others.

“Failure to do these as certified by the school principal, barangay health worker or barangay officials would mean their disqualification from the program. CCT is not really a dole out with these conditions,” he said.

He said that Mayor Jose Silvosa Sr otherwise find the program good and as a result he requested the DSWD central office in Manila for the inclusion to the program an additional 5,000 households from the city’s 22 barangays. (cha monforte)


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