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A posse of Pantawids

THE straight and narrow path, or “matuwid na daan” in Filipino, is where President Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ C. Aquino III says he wishes all Filipinos would tread. And perhaps to prove that he’s not all talk and no action, Aquino has splurged billions of pesos on many “pantawid” (“tide over” in English) programs that all involve cash subsidies for the poor.

The biggest of these “pantawid” initiatives, of course, is the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) that has been allotted P21 billion in the 2011 General Appropriations Act (GAA), and a substantial part of it funded with loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Hype & rush mask
gaps in CCT rollout

SHE HAD neither bought a lotto ticket nor joined a TV game show. But Marissa felt like she won the jackpot anyway late last year, when her family was chosen as one of the recipients of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program.

After all, it meant her family would be receiving P800 a month, and while that has since proved inadequate to sustain her brood of four, whatever cash she can lay her hands on is welcome, especially now that her husband, a returnee from suddenly protest-prone Saudi Arabia, has been jobless for the last two months.

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