For CCT scheme, gov’t urged to focus on health, education
Governments that are bent on implementing conditional cash transfer (CCT) schemes must work on investments in health and educational facilities to ensure the success of the program, according to the architect of Mexico’s CCT program.
“The objective of these programs is to have people use more health services and to have people go to school more often. If the schools are not working and the health clinics are not working, then you are not going to get that,” Santiago Levy, who designed the CCT program in Mexico, said in a roundtable discussion at the Asian Development Bank headquarters yesterday.
The Philippines’ CCT program, called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, is patterned after similar efforts in Latin American countries such as Mexico.
Pantawid Pamilya provides cash grants of as much as P1,400 a month to poor households on the condition that children are sent to schools and health centers for checkup.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said that the education services would be enough to meet the needs of CCT beneficiaries, but the supply of health services must be improved.
“In terms of the supply side for education, we are meeting the needs,” Soliman said in a phone interview, citing the presence of an elementary school in almost every barangay.
“The health aspect is a bit challenging because not all have functioning rural health units,” Soliman added.
But she said that measures are being put in place to address the problem.
For instance, Soliman said, 90 percent of the 30,000 nurses hired and assigned by the Department of Health are assigned in areas where CCT beneficiaries are located.
There are 3.075 million households covered by the CCT as of Sept. 15, Soliman said.
Also, Levy said that CCT programs should be evaluated regularly to determine lapses in its implementation.
The agency handling the CCT program must ensure that the targeting of beneficiaries will not be manipulated to prevent leakages and political patronage, added Levy, who is also vice president for Sectors and Knowledge of the Inter-American Development Bank.
According to Soliman, the agency is already implementing concrete steps to insulate CCT from political pressure, such as the use of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty (NHTS-PR).
“With the NHTS, LGUs will not have any hand in identifying beneficiaries,” she said.
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