MANILA - Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Thursday said the government's Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program for indigent Filipino families should be modified.
Under the proposed 2018 budget, the country's 10 million poorest households would be allocated P25 billion, he said.
CCT provides cash grants to poor households with children 14 years old and below given certain conditions, including regular school attendance and health checks for children and pregnant women.
"We continue to review the program and see whether it’s really delivering on its promises. Maybe in 2019, we can review the program comprehensively," Diokno told ANC's Early Edition.
Diokno said the program, started by the Arroyo administration, may be tweaked a little or changed radically. He cited the need for an alternative given that "the Duterte administration is not only focused on growth, but also on poverty alleviation," he said.
"I think it could be continued, but with a twist. I am asking, what are the parents of these kids doing? Why not just a job program? We will continue, maybe a combination of a work program with the CCT," he said.
"We continue to review even the rice allowance, but as we develop, I think we may have less need for it," he added, noting that the government's infrastructure push will create about a million jobs every year to cap the unemployment rate.
With the infrastructure plan, the Department of Public Works and Highways was allocated P643.3 billion under the proposed 2018 budget, next only to the Department of Education, which annually tops appropriations given its size.
The Department of Transportation's budget, as proposed, was meanwhile given a 32.6 percent boost, from P55.7 billion this year to P73.8 billion in 2018.
This puts the total allocation for the administration’s Build, Build, Build program to about P1.097 trillion, comprising around a quarter of the P3.767 trillion proposed annual budget.