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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                       23  August 2011

Fund helps Filipino kids’ education

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The CCT is a three year-old poverty reduction program which provides cash assistance to the poorest of the poor in the Philippines but the beneficiaries have to comply with certain conditions that promote human development such as education and health.

The conditions include: children 3-5 years old must attend Day Care/pre-school at least 85 percent of the time, children 6-14 years old must attend school at least 85 percent of the time, children 0-5 years old must get regular health check-up and vaccinations, children 6-14 years old must undergo deworming sessions every six months, parents must attend responsible parenthood sessions and pregnant women must get pre-and post-natal care and be attended to during childbirth by a skilled/trained birth attendant.

“We are investing on the health and education of children. With the CCT, they [children] won’t have able to go to school because they need to go the market, sea, or the field to augment the income [of the family],” Soliman told the House Committee on Appropriations.

Under the CCT program, beneficiaries complying with the conditions will get a maximum cash grant of P1,400 (US$33) monthly, provided that that such household have a pregnant mother and three children aged 0 to 14 years old. Of the P1,400, P900 is allotted for the education of the three children, while P500 goes to medical assistance for the family.

The compliance of the CCT beneficiaries, Soliman said, is around 95 to 96 percent based on their regular spot checks and surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations, World Bank and the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance.

The government is targeting to enroll at least 4.6 million poorest of the poor households under the CCT program by 2014. There will be no enrollment after 2014.

Rep. Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna Party-list, however, is not convinced that the compliance rate of CCT beneficiaries is high and that the program has a significant impact on human development goals.

“The problem with spot checks is that they do not paint the big picture. Has there been a significant improvement considering the shortage of health centers and classrooms? We should have an impact study on this before we pour in 39 billion to this program,” Casiño pointed out.

But Soliman argued that the results of their monitoring are scientifically proven and have covered significant number of beneficiaries.

More impact studies on the program, Soliman said, would be in by September especially on the sustained participation of children in school.

“We would know if there is increased sustained participation of children in school especially on Grades 4 to 6 where dropouts mostly occur,” Soliman added.

The CCT beneficiaries will only be covered by the CCT program for five years at the maximum to give a chance to the other poorest of the poor to benefit from the program.

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