Education for poor, not CCT—bishop

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MALAYBALAY City, Bukidnon, August 28, 2014—Amid controversies surrounding the project, a churchman from Bukidnon suggests the money being rolled out for the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program should be redirected to subsidize the education of the Filipino youth instead.

Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan believes the P1,500-P2,000 cash “gift” indigent Filipino families receive monthly will be better off funding the studies of poor but deserving students.

Cabantan shared over Radyo Veritas that investing in education must be a government priority because it opens enormous opportunities for the underprivileged to improve their lot in life.

Eradicating extreme poverty

The bishop noted CCT, or what beneficiaries more popularly refer to as “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” (Four P’s), is one of the ways the Philippine government uses to achieve the so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiated by the United Nations (UN).

The UN website explains MDGs are the “world’s time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability”.

“I think this is really in line with MDG 2015. In terms of poverty alleviation through education, I doubt if they have reached the goal,” said he.

According to pantawid.dswd.gov.ph, the goals being targeted by PH are as follows:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2. Achieve universal primary education

3. Promote gender equality

4. Reduce child mortality

5. Improve maternal health

“Culture of dependency”

Cabantan said MDGs promote population control, which the UN and other proponents see as necessary for eventual progress.

In an earlier report, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz criticized the CCT program, saying it breeds a “culture of dependency” among the Filipino poor.

The former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) head emphasized CCT, while it ostensibly “relieves the neediest, actually injures the beneficiaries’ dignity and self-worth, because they are conditioned to believe it is only right to regularly collect money they did not earn.”

Cruz stressed the program teaches people the “wrong values in life” even as it offers “corrupt politicians” a chance to steal and the means to manipulate future voters.

For his part, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, who chairs CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), believes CCT must be given a chance, urging the government to push for an “external evaluation” before it decides on whether to continue or to scrap the much-battered program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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