The Aquino administration has proposed a much higher budget of P62.6 billion in 2014 for the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.
The proposed budget for the CCT program is 42 percent more than the already significant P44 billion allocated in this year’s national budget.
The proposal of a higher budget for the CCT program came after President Aquino reiterated in his State of the Nation Address delivered on Monday that his administration would focus on achieving so-called inclusive growth, or growth that will be felt by the majority of the people.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a text message to the Inquirer that the proposed 2014 budget for the CCT program will cover 4.3 million poor households in the country, up from the 3.9 million for this year.
He also said that the amount would cover 132,000 homeless families.
The CCT program originally covered poor households, but will start covering even homeless families starting next year, Abad said.
Under the CCT program, the poorest families are given monthly subsidies in exchange for their commitment to send children to public schools and to have the children and mothers regularly visit public health centers.
The maximum budget per family is P1,200 a month—P300 per child for a maximum of three children plus P300 for the mother.
In a statement, the Department of Budget and Management said the proposed national budget for 2014 of P2.268 trillion is intended mainly to achieve inclusive growth—a term that is also used by economists to describe economic growth that leads to poverty reduction.
“The national budget [for 2014] is President Aquino’s blueprint for inclusive growth in the country. By managing our resource judiciously and shaping our expenditure goals to fit the administration’s broader development agenda, we will not only boost our prospects for fiscal advancement but we will also create equal opportunities for growth for every citizen,” Abad said in a statement.
The proposed national budget for 2014 is higher by 13.1 percent than this year’s P2.006 trillion.
The Philippines, which became the fastest-growing Asian economy in the first quarter after registering an expansion rate of 7.8 percent, is said to be suffering from a non-inclusive growth in that poverty incidence remains high.
Poverty rate stood at 27.9 percent as of June last year, one of the highest in the region.
Economists said that to significant reduce poverty, the government should implement programs, projects and policies geared toward streamlining processes for putting up a business, removing barriers to foreign ownership to have more foreign direct investments, boosting the manufacturing sector, and spending more on education and infrastructure.
The DBM said that in the proposed 2014 national budget, infrastructure development was also given priority.
Infrastructure development is expected to get P399.4 billion out of the proposed national budget, up by 35.5 percent from this year’s allocation.