Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Downside of Conditional Cash Transfer Program

QUESTION: Sir John, will the Conditional Cash Transfer Program of PNoy be effective in helping the poorest of the poor?

ANSWER: In my study, the answer is NO. PNoy's version of CCTP is designed only to be benefited by those poor in the cities and easily-accessible municipalities.

PNoy's CCTP version will encourage the continued influx of poor people from the rural areas (where most of them lives) to the cities. It is like calling all poor people to come down from the rural areas to the cities so they can collect their CCTP benefits. Among the many "Conditions" to benefit from the CCTP is that the kids of the beneficiary household must go to school and the payee must have an account in Landbank.

Seven (7) out of ten (10) poorest provinces in the Philippines can be found in Mindanao and most of them are classified as remote rural areas -- very far from schools and the idea of a "bank" is very out of their league. So, for our top 48 poorest rural human settlements in remote places in Mindanao, sorry, the CCTP will most likely not reach them.

DEFINITELY, the Conditional Cash Transfer Program of PNoy Administration is not well-targetted to the remote rural areas where most of the empoverished population lives. The government becomes a LIAR when it claims that CCTP is an effective poverty eradication program.


Cash transfer program seen to meet MDG
By Helen M. Flores ( Updated November 21, 2010 07:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) could help the government fulfill its commitment to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of halving extreme hunger and poverty by 2015, an international adviser on poverty said.

Tarcisio Castaneda, a social protection specialist, said the 4Ps, a conditional cash transfer program, empowers extremely poor families to seek access to the government’s health and education services, which in the long run can lift them up from extreme poverty.

“The CCT program’s safety net component aims to provide social assistance for short term poverty reduction but in the long run eradicates poverty by building the capacity of children of poor families to complete schooling and improve health conditions, which is considered a huge investment in human capital,” said Castaneda. “In essence, the CCT helps the country fulfill its commitment to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that include eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, access to maternal and child health care and universal access to primary education.”

Castaneda, who conducted extensive studies on the impact of CCT programs in Latin American and Asian countries, said the program’s key requirement for poor families to access health and education services in exchange for cash assistance should not be viewed as sanctions. In fact, he said these conditions are aimed to “empower them to better their living conditions and immediately get access to cash assistance.”

He said some of the countries that have successfully implemented CCT programs to address poverty were Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.

Castaneda said the key designs of the CCT program is sensitive to the Filipinos’ culture and values that will enable them to comply to the conditions by having their children complete school days and undergo regular health services.