According to Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, the beneficiaries of the social welfare department’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) should be given cash subsidies instead of the usual rice supply.
During the hearing on the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo agreed to Drilon’s proposal, and even cited that the distribution of rice packs to families was costly and cumbersome. The 2017 budget of the department is P128.808 billion. The rice subsidies is just one of the components of the government’s 4Ps conditional cash transfer (CCT) program. 20 kilos are allocated per family per month, amounting to a monthly allocation of P600.
P23 billion has been proposed by the department for rice subsidies for next year. “Let’s give cash instead. Why are we insisting on a rice subsidy? Rice coupons? … If you give cash, it doesn’t mean you’re not fighting hunger,” Drilon stated. “We will insert a special provision (in the budget) which will provide that the rice subsidy shall be given in the form of cash. And that grant should not, in any way, allow or authorize distribution of actual rice, which is terrible,” the senator added. He also told Taguiwalo that he was already able to secure the concurrence of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and National Economic Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia regarding the conversion of the rice subsidy into cash. ASCSSource: Inquirer, http://www.filipinewsph.com
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