MANILA, Philippines – The government's conditional cash transfer program is expanding its reach by helping out street families and indigenous peoples, Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development said.
Speaking to ANC, Soliman said the initial survey of the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) did not include street families “because part of the condition then when they did the survey was there is a stable abode, you can go home no matter how small the house is and you have to belong to a community.”
“It meant we were not including street families including those living in karitons and traysikads,” she said.
She said that starting August, a total of 900 street families in the National Capital Region will be enrolled in the CCT program, also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Soliman said the DSWD will also be helping out indigenous peoples who were also not included in the NHTS.
“We are trying to explain to them that this is the program that will help you keep children in schools and keep them healthy,” she said.
The CCT is a national cash transfer program conditional on investments in child education and health, and regular and prenatal and postnatal checkups for women. The program provides health grants to poor households with children aged 0 to 14 years old, and/or pregnant women.
A total of 3.08 million poor families are beneficiaries of the program, which will increase to 3.8 million by next year.
Soliman said that by December 2013, some 291,000-321,000 families will be completing the 5-year program and will be transitioned to self-sufficiency.
“That is the goal – to help the family reach the level of self sufficiency and we are doing this not just through CCT but by providing sustainable livelihoods and community driven development,” he said.
The DSWD secretary also denied that there is a huge jump in the overhead costs of the CCT program.
She said overhead costs of the Pantawid Pamilya program is only 8.7% of the total budget of the CCT. “It is not a huge cost considering that we are serving 3.08 million families,” she said.
She also noted that similar CCT programs in other countries had overhead costs at 10% to 12% of their total CCT budgets.
Soliman also denied that there was a cut in the CCT budget for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for 2013. She said the DSWD is actually adding 33,000 families from ARMM in the CCT program.
She also denied that there was an 82% increase in banking fees for the CCT program, from P346 million in 2012 to P633 million in 2013.
Soliman said Landbank is the agency that handles the contracts for the disbursements. She said Globe Remit, which handles the bulk of the disbursements to the CCT beneficiaries, had already lowered its banking fees from P75 to P45.