Gov't war vs poverty, hunger beyond CCT program
MANILA, Philippines – The government said on Saturday, January 24, that its efforts to reduce poverty and hunger in the country are not centered on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program alone.
This comes after the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that the Philippines' average yearly hunger rate was at its lowest in 7 years, as fewer Filipino families experienced hunger during the last quarter of 2014.
In a radio interview with DZRB, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that while the CCT is its flagship program, the government is also extending livelihood assistance and monitoring prices of basic goods.
Valte explained that the CCT program, under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), seems to get more attention due to the increase in its coverage and the huge budget it gets. But that does not mean the government is paying less attention to other related projects, she said.
Valte noted that there are job creation initiatives by the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and livelihood assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Overseas Filipino workers returning to the country also get assistance and skills training through facilities by DOLE and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), she added.
Valte also mentioned that the biggest slice of the 2015 national budget went to agencies that handle social services, like the DSWD, the Department of Education – which received an increase in its budget – and the Department of Health.
"This shows that the administration puts public money in programs that are targeted really to help alleviate, not just the fifth quintile or the poorest of the poor, but also those who could be pushed out of the poverty line," Valte said.
She added that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is making sure that prices of goods and basic commodities are at proper levels, now that gas prices have been going down in the world market.
PH hunger rate down
The latest SWS survey showed that the hunger rate in the 4th quarter of 2014 was at 17.2%, 4.8 percentage points lower than what was recorded in September.
It is equal to around 3.8 million Filipino families, down from an estimated 4.8 million in the third quarter.
This brings the country's average annual hunger rate for 2014 to 18.3%, the lowest since 2007 (when it was at 17.9%). In 2013, the annual hunger rate was at 19.5%.
The survey was conducted from November 27 to December 1, with 1,800 adults interviewed nationwide.
While acknowledging that survey numbers on hunger are fluctuating from time to time, the government gave assurances that "help goes where it is needed." – Rappler.com