Senator wants CCT beneficiaries to clean mosquito-breeding places

A legislator yesterday asked why not include the spotting and cleaning of mosquito breeding places as one of the “conditions” in the government’s Conditional-Cash Transfer (CCT) Program.

Sen. Ralph G. Recto said that “merely tweaking” the conditions of the P62-billion Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps could transform its 4,436,732 million beneficiary-families into a “big dengue prevention army.”

“After all, health officials are saying that the best way to eradicate dengue is to destroy its source. And that requires no complicated process, nor sophisticated equipment. Walis lang at tanggalan ng tubig ang pinamamahayan ng lamok,” Recto said.

“Can we not send out this simple directive to the big CCT nation? It is also for their protection,” Recto told Department of Social Welfare and Development (Dswd) officials, who appeared before a Senate finance subcommittee to defend their proposed P104.1-billion budget for 2016.

In describing the “breadth and reach” of the CCT, Recto said about 1 in 5 Filipinos today are covered by the program.

“The DSWD oversees a payroll four times bigger than the national government work force. And that’s just on CCT alone. It also provides monthly pension to almost 1 million senior citizens, a number eight times bigger than the Armed Forces personnel,” he said.

“At lahat ng mga ‘yan ay organisado at monitored. Kaya kung anuman ang pakiusap, halimbawa, linisin natin ang pugad ng mga lamok, isang blast-text lang,” Recto said.

For the CCT, government is spending P62.3 billion, to increase by P300 million next year as DSWD intends to hike the number of beneficiaries to 4,620,630 families.

On the Indigent Senior Pension Program, total budget this year is P5.7 billion but it will go up to P7.5 billion next year as the number of beneficiaries who are 60 years old and above will expand to 1,182,941.

Recto said there are other “big-ticket, large-footprint” projects in the DSWD budget “whose mass base can be mobilized for the anti-dengue drive.”

He cited the partially foreign-funded “KALAHI-CIDDS National Community-Driven Development Program”.

With a 2015 allocation of P17 billion, this program funds 6,735 community-identified projects which include infrastructure. “Unknown to many, Dswd has also entered the construction business. This KALAHI program is its DPWH arm,” Recto said.

Another DSWD “megabillion” venture, he said, is its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), with a budget of P4.1 billion this year.

“SLP has 378,822 families under its wings. Baka naman pwede sila masabihan din na, “In the spirit of bayanihan, since  you have received help from the government, maybe you can also inspect your surroundings and remove items where mosquitoes lay their eggs,” Recto said.

“If you add them all up, we can safely say that about 1 in every 4 families in the country today is under the umbrella of DSWD. So kung bawat isa sasabihan ang kabitbahay nya sa kaliwa at sa kanan na tanggalin natin ang pinamumugaran ng lamok, malaking bagay na iyan,” Recto said.

The CCT programs grant a monthly stipend of up to P1,400 to a family, provided the children regularly go to school and the mother, if pregnant, does not miss any health check-up.

The senior pension program, on the other hand, gives an “indigent” senior citizen P6,000 a year.

Recto urged the DSWD to include as “riders” in the CCT conditions or in any grant “good citizenship practices or other conditions which address a particular sector or need.”

“Kung nasa tabi ng estero, baka kasama sa kondisyon ang huwag magtapon  ng basura sa tubig or kaya’y maging bantay-estero sila. Kung nasa upland areas, baka pwede isama ang pagtatanim ng puno sa mga kondisyon ng ayuda (If they are near the esteros, the condition might include not throwing garbage in the water or they might stand as estero-guardians. If they are in upland areas,maybe they could plant trees as a condition for the help they receive),” he said.

“We should expand the things-to-do in the report card. Kung dating MDG or millennium development goal focused, baka naman pwedeng haluan ng municipal development goals, tulad doon sa basura,” Recto said.

Recto made the proposal as a raging dengue outbreak has downed at least 78,808 as of September 5, according to official Health reports, although it is believed that the number could be higher due to unreported cases.




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