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Duterte’s DSWD secretary wants review of cash doles for poorest families


President Benigno Aquino III's multi-billion-peso conditional cash transfer program will be reviewed by the incoming administration despite President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's earlier statements on his intention to continue the cash doles for the country's poorest families.

In an interview on News To Go on Tuesday, incoming Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said she would study the current administration's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) when she assumes office, to see the extent of its effects as a poverty alleviation initiative.

"Sabi ni President Duterte, gusto niyang ipagpatuloy. Gusto kong aralin kung alin ba dito ngayon ang naitulong niya, considering na ang laki talaga ng investment natin diyan," Taguiwalo said.

The 4Ps program allocation in the national budget has steadily increased over the past several years under the Aquino administration. For 2016, it was given a budget of P62.7 billion.

The latest data from the DSWD shows that there are 4.4 million poor households registered under the regular CCT program.

"Gusto kong aralin kung ano ang naitulong nito at ano 'yung mga problema. Merong reports na merong mga dapat beneficiaries na dapat 'di included pero kasama," Taguiwalo added.

The incoming secretary said the records showed it did not lessen poverty in the country, thus her plan to look into it when she takes the helm in the department.

"Four P's, as it is now, ay subject sa pag-aaral tapos ire-relate sa ibang programa," Taguiwalo said.

"Sinasabi itong poverty alleviation [program], so i-a-address mo talaga as poverty alleviation. Tingnan mo 'yung record, hindi naman talaga nabawasan 'yung bilang ng mga mahihirap dito sa Pilipinas. Based on statistics, hindi nababawasan," she added.

Taguiwalo said 4Ps was more of a "stop-gap measure."

"We're providing them financial assistance to send their children to school, para sa check-up, pero 'yung asset reforms—magkaroon ng lupa, magkaroon ng trabaho—'yun ang gusto kong tingnan in coordination with other agencies," Taguiwalo said.

"Paano ba ang CCT in relation to the Department of Labor, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Education, and Department of Health?" she added.

"Again, ang gusto kong aralin natin, sino ba talaga ang nagbe-benefit? Kasi kung mahihirap naman talaga, why not, 'di ba? I need to hold consultations with various sectors. I need to look at the evaluation being undertake now, as well as conduct my own evaluation of the program," Taguiwalo said.

Taguiwalo said she was asking outgoing Secretary Corazon Soliman for reports and data on the program, as well as on other matters, including help for those affected by La Niña.

"Humingi ako ng ulat kung ano ang naibigay sa nasalanta ng tagtuyot, kasi nu'ng isang linggo, nag-rally 'yung mga mangingisda sa Iloilo. Sabi nila, hanggang ngayon kahit isang relief pack, 'di pa natatanggap. Anong paghahanda sa La Niña?" she said.

The incoming secretary said she also wanted to know more about the personnel of the department.

"Ang sabi sa akin, may 23,000 ang staff, pero 3,000 lang diyan ang regular, so gusto kong aralin ang kontraktuwalisasyon. Bakit ganoong kalaganap?" she said.

Taguiwalo has served as a longtime professor at the University of the Philippines.

She retired in July last year, but was extended as professor and director of the UP Center for Women's Studies until July 31 this year.

She has been an activist since the Martial Law years, and has said that she disagreesdwith Duterte's pronouncement of burying former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Taguiwalo said she already informed Duterte of her views on the matter.

"Pagtingin ko hindi bayani talaga si Marcos. Kung saan siya ilibing, tinututulan ko kung ilibing siya sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. Naipahayag ko na ito at siguro sapat na 'yun. Kung nagkaroon man kami ng differences diyan, hindi 'yan sapat para mawala ang mga basic namin na pagkakaisa kaugnay sa serbisyo sa mamamayan," she said. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/NB, GMA News

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