World Bank hails conditional cash transfer program
MANILA, Philippines—The World Bank Bank said Friday the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, for which the Philippine government spends a huge amount in monthly subsidies to the poor, is so far proving to be a worthy investment.
Citing findings of its recently completed study on the CCT, the World Bank said indicators show favorable developments in the areas of health and education as a result of the subsidies.
“The report confirms that children [belonging to household] beneficiaries are enrolling and attending schools, with improved health due to regular visits to health stations, and pregnant mothers getting proper care,” the World Bank said in a statement.
Under the CCT program, the government provides monthly subsidies to selected poor households. Beneficiaries are required to send their children to public schools, and to have the children and the mothers regularly visit public health centers. The objective of the program is to increase school participation rate of children of poor households and to improve health conditions.
For 2013, the government has allocated P44.25 billion for the subsidy program. The amount is expected to cover 3.5 million households, each receiving more or less P1,000 a month.
One of the findings of the study is that 98 percent of children aged 6 to 11 years old in barangays where the CCT program is implemented are enrolled in schools. This is higher compared with 93 percent for children not belonging to covered barangays.
Another finding is that children aged 6 to 14 years old in CCT-covered barangays have higher school attendance rate of 95 to 96 percent. Children of the same ages in barangays not covered by the program registered a school attendance rate of only 91 percent, it said.
Moreover, 76 percent of pre-school children in CCT-covered barangays are enrolled in daycare centers. On the other hand, children in the same age group but not covered by the CCT program registered a pre-school enrolment rate of only 65 percent.
On the health aspect, the findings showed that 64 percent of mothers covered by the CCT program reported having obtained pre-natal care from public health centers. This is higher than the 54 percent for mothers not covered by the CCT program.
Moroever, 85 percent of CCT-covered children aged 6 to 14 years old have undergone deworming compared with the 80 percent of children from children not benefiting from the CCT.
The World Bank also said that poor households covered by the program spend 38 percent more on education and 34 percent more on medical expenses than those not covered by the program.
“This trend indicates a shift in the spending pattern among CCT beneficiaries towards greater investments in health and education for the children,” Nazmul Chaudhury, World Bank’s country sector coordinator for human development, said in the World Bank study titled “Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer Program, Impact Evaluation 2012,”
Given the favorable findings, the World Bank recommends strengthening of the CCT program, such as through an even higher amount of investments in it.
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