Commentary: Pies in the bank
By Behn Fer. Hortaleza, Jr.
Dagupan City (29 August) -- The social welfare department calls it Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (PPPP), a poverty reduction strategy of the Arroyo administration that provides selected beneficiaries from the so-called poorest of the poor sector a health/nutrition cash package of P500 and education grant of P300 per child monthly.
As DSWD press release this week said, a maximum of three children, ages 0-14 in a household can benefit, meaning a household with its three children receive as much as P1,400 monthly for a period of three years for as long as they comply with certain conditions for the grant.
And the conditions?
Children ages 0-5 shall get regular health check-ups and vaccines; children ages 3-5 shall attend day-care/pre-school with at least 85% attendance; children ages 6-14 must be enrolled in schools with at least 85% attendance in the school; parent-guardian must attend family planning sessions/mothers classes and other related activities and pregnant mothers must get pre and post natal care for children.
Not really tough acts to follow, are they? In fact, even without the money "incentive" every sensible mother to her children should be doing all these—except that most of the time, they don't have the money. In comes government therefore to fill that up, somehow.
Before the critics crow about and against this supposed "political gimmick" we guess it's worth watching and seeing how it goes. Offhand, it's a fair deal—my money for your cooperation and you benefit both ways.
By September, the DSWD grandly says, cash transfer to pre-identified household beneficiaries (in Pangasinan, they're in the towns of Bolinao, Aguilar, Urbiztondo and Mabini) will be granted via Land Bank cash cards.
It's a wait-and-see from that point on—whether this Administration can swing it or not. The Mother Hen that is the DSWD will be checking from then on and fretting to see if the egg hatchers—or it rots right there in the shell. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]