Conditional cash transfer program as a gross deception and diminution of social spending — NDFP

By NDFP Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Eastern Visayas today called on the people to vigorously campaign against the gross deception of the conditional cash transfer scheme or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Aquino government.

“We cannot fault the people, who in the depths of poverty and want, grasp at what they believe to be opportunities to live through the day,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDFP-EV spokesperson. “But the CCT scheme by the Aquino regime has sown confusion and disunity among the people. Such a program not only glosses over but in fact diminishes basic social spending such as for land reform and social services, while favoring the deregulation and privatization pushed by the IMF-World Bank. The people should learn about the gross deception behind the CCT scheme, and fight instead for their democratic demands and long-term socio-economic reforms.”

Fr. Salas said the CCT/4Ps is not worthy of being a flagship poverty-reduction project in granting subsidies to the poor. “In the proposed 2012 Aquino government budget, the CCT/4Ps budget is to be increased from P23 billion to P34 billion. In reality,  pursuing the CCT/4Ps is like frying the people in their own fat: it is funded at the expense of diminishing budgets for land reform and basic social services while also lulling the people into a dole-out mentality.

“For example, this 2011, there were slashes in the budgets of the Department of Agrarian Reform, from P20.8 billion in 2010 to P6.4 billion, and the Department of Agriculture, from P39.2 billion (2010) to P34.8 billion. These cuts for social spending continue in the proposed 2012 budget, while appearing on paper to have been increased. For example, most of the increase in the Department of Health’s budget will go to further commercializing health service through Philhealth and the Public-Private Partnership in the health sector. This means that the people will spend more out of their own pockets rather than government and social insurance shouldering the costs, while public and private hospitals increase their revenues.

“Meanwhile, the Department of Education budget is ostensibly raised by 13.8% to P308.9 billion next year. But P30 billion will automatically go to salaries; the budget is not meant to address the shortages of classrooms, teachers, chairs, and textbooks. For one, DepEd needs 103,000 teachers but it is only targeting the recruitment of 13,000. Schools also need 13 million chairs but only has the budget for 2.53 million. More than P500 million will also be slashed from 50 state universities and colleges, which are increasingly pushed to commercialize and privatize.”

The NDFP-EV spokesperson urged the people to study the deception behind the CCT/4Ps and persevere in their democratic mass struggles for land, livelihood, education and other basic needs.

“By consistently upholding their basic interests, the people can remain critical and discerning of the palliatives being peddled by the Aquino regime. They can thoroughly study and expose the implications of the CCT/4Ps and its connection as essential to the psychological warfare in the Aquino government’s [counter-insurgency program] Oplan Bayanihan.

The urban and rural poor can expose how the CCT/4Ps cannot meet or sustain their basic needs, as well as being vulnerable to anomalies and corruption. It is through persevering in the democratic mass struggles for land, livelihood, education, health and other basic needs that the people can express their demands while debunking the CCT/4Ps as a gross deception by the Aquino regime.”

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