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Jun 28th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Nene Pimentel Wants CCTP Stopped
Nene Pimentel Wants CCTP Stopped PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Written by Nene Pimentel Press Office   
Tuesday, 22 March 2011 21:32

Former Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr. is asking the Supreme Court to stop the Aquino administration from implementing the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCTP) as it violates the Constitution and the Local Government Code.        


In a petition for certiorari and prohibition dated March 11, 2011, Pimentel and two barangay chairmen are asking the Court to declare as unconstitutional certain provisions of the General Appropriations Act FY 2011 giving a budget allocation of P21-billion for the CCTP under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).


The petition also seeks to stop Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa and DWSD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman from implementing the program.


Pimentel said the budget allocation of P21-billion for the CCTP under the DSWD is tantamount to a recentralization of the already devolved functions under the Local Government Code of 1991.


The budget allocation also violates Art. II, Sec. 25 & Art. X, Sec. 3 of the 1987 Constitution which mandate the State to “ensure the autonomy of local governments” and to “provide for a more responsive and accountable local government instituted through a system of decentralization”, Pimentel said.


Pimentel described CCTP as a “retrogressive government policy that intrudes into the heart of local autonomy, particularly in the delivery of basic services to the constituents of local government units.”


While acknowledging that various versions of CCTPs have been adopted in Latin America and Caribbean countries as tools to reduce poverty, Pimentel said he had reservations over its applicability in the Philippines.


Pimentel, however, made it clear that he is not challenging the wisdom of the President and Congress to pursue their own adaptation of a CCTP here, but the manner by which the CCTP is being implemented, which is primarily through the DSWD instead of through the local government units.


The delivery of basic services like maternal health care and infancy nutrition, Pimentel said, has been devolved to the local governments for the past 20 years – including all the personnel, equipment and staff particularly of the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Social Welfare and Services under Sec. 17 of the Local Government Code.


Pimentel pointed out that instead of allocating the P21-billion budget directly to the LGUs to enhance the delivery of this devolved basic service, the recentralization of government functions provides the DSWD with full control, and not merely supervision, over identification of the program beneficiaries and the manner by which the conditionalities for health care and social welfare and development services are to be delivered and complied with.


Pimentel is also questioning the budget allocation for the CCTP under the GAA FY 2011 which entails the hiring and training by the DSWD of reportedly more than 4,000 personnel, the purchase of equipment and the like at a cost of P4 billion.


Rather than recentralizing, Pimentel said, the national government should instead provide funding support to the LGUs as provided for under R.A. 7160 so that what used to be DSWD’s functions may be more fully and directly implemented especially on the matter of development, not just social welfare services.


The former senator explained that there is no other government agency that knows more who the poorest of the poor in their localities who need urgent assistance – not necessarily by dole-outs but by earning it – than the LGUs.


“After 20 years since the passage of the Local Government Code, we are moving backward towards a centralized government once again under the guise of programs intended to address our Millennium Development Goals. It is for this reason that this petition is being filed to ensure the promotion of the system of decentralization mandated and upheld by our Constitution despite the superficial simulation of the central government’s intent to help the poor,” Pimentel said.


Pimentel is acknowledged as the principal author of the Local Government Code of 1991. His two co-petitioners are Sergio Tadeo, the incumbent Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) President of Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, and Nelson Alcantara, the incumbent Barangay Captain of Barangay Sta. Monica, Quezon City. # # #


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