Press Release
October 23, 2015

Recto proposes 'CCT-V' as better aid for disaster victims

Why not give them CCT-V?

Saying typhoon victims may need long-term aid, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto today called for the enrollment of "those hit by the double whammy of poverty and disaster" in the government's Conditional Cash Transfer program.

"We can call it Conditional Cash for Typhoon Victims or CCTV. Pwede rin Care and Cash for Typhoon Victims," Recto jokingly dubbed his proposal. "Seriously, the idea is to reserve a certain percentage of CCT beneficiaries in a year for disaster victims," Recto said.

"Calamity victims should not live from one relief bag to another. One of the best forms of aid is the 4Ps because it is regular, guaranteed and sustained. 'Yan ang tunay na pantawid - hindi pansamantala o panandalian," Recto said.

"Para sa mga magsasaka, hindi naman bag ng sardinas ang kailangan nila sa pangmatagalan. Ang kailangan nila ay alalay para makabalik sila sa pagtatanim," he said.

To give victims "multiple sources of help," Recto said the "CCT-V" can be paired with other government relief programs like cash-for-work in the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and seed and other forms of planting assistance.

State colleges can also defer the payment of tuition and other fees by students hit by a calamity, he said.

"But the centerpiece should be the CCT-V. Rebuilding is a long process. Kasi, kapag wala na ang relief operations, kapag wala na sa news, ang mga biktima ang solong pumapasan ng pagbangon nila," he said.

"Kung minsan, pagdating sa mga biktima ng bagyo, nagkaka-attention deficit ang gobyerno. So ano ang mainam na panlaban dito? Ang CCT-V," Recto said.

Recto believes "budget space" can be carved out of the proposed P3 trillion 2016 budget for a CCT for typhoon Lando victims. "There are less important programs there which can give way to typhoon relief."

It has also been done in the past, Recto recalled, when the Senate funded 20,000 additional CCT slots for Yolanda victims in the 2014 budget.

The Senate will tackle the 2016 budget middle of next month.

For 2016, proposed budget for CCT - officially the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program - will reach P62.67 billion.

Of this, P59.3 billion will cover 4,402,253 million families under the "regular CCT" program while P3.3 billion will enroll 218,377 families under the "modified CCT" program.

The latter would include itinerant and homeless families and indigenous peoples.

"So you see, CCT is undergoing evolution. It is not static. So we can add a new category for disaster victims. Or we earmark, say, two percent, of the annual ceiling, or about 90,000 slots, in reserve for typhoon victims," he said.

"With 20 typhoons barreling across the second most disaster-prone country in the world annually, those slots will be filled up. Baka kulang pa nga kung kasama 'yung nasunugan, nabaha," Recto said.

The CCT-V, Recto said, can also be tweaked "because the conditionalities will be different from the regular CCT."

Under the regular CCT, a family will have to send its children to school regularly, and the mother, if pregnant, must receive regular check-up, to qualify for the monthly payout.

In all, the DSWD has a proposed budget of P104 billion for 2016. It also funds other social protection programs like the supplemental feeding for children, monthly pension for indigent seniors, and "Sustainable Livelihood Program".

One big-ticket item in the DSWD budget, the P11 billion Kalahi CIDSS-National Community-Driven Development Program (KC-NCDDP) "can bankroll community-identified reconstruction in Lando-hit areas," Recto said.

Typhoon Lando left P7 billion in agriculture and infrastructure damage, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said on Thursday.

A total of 268,877 families or 1,242,239 persons have been affected by the typhoon, the agency reported.

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