MS 30th Anniversary XXX

An inventive idea

Somebody should tell senatorial candidate John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes that he sounds so hollow, and to use his own words, hypocritical, in his statements against political dynasties. De los Reyes has announced that he is out to slay the “monster of political dynasties” as he denounced the Liberal party coalition and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for “fielding candidates from the same families who have been in power for a long time.” “They epitomize transactional politics, the politics of greed and hypocrisy,” he said. De los Reyes would be more credible if he is not the nephew of ex-Sen. Dick Gordon who is also running for senator. The mother of de los Reyes, Barbara, is the sister of Gordon and his full name if John Carlos Gordon de los Reyes. Among the credentials of de los Reyes is that he served as councilor of Olongapo City and we wonder if he would have won as councilor if he was not a Gordon. This reminds us of former BCDA and SBMA chairman Tong Payumo who was vocal in denouncing the political dynasty of the Garcias in Bataan. He quieted down, however, when someone pointed out to him that there are four Payumos running in the May 13 elections including himself. Payumo is running for congressman, a nephew is running for governor, his son is running as board member and another nephew is running for mayor. Sounds like everything he says against political dynasties applies to him. *** Easily the most controversial project of the P-Noy Administration is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), more popularly known as the conditional cash transfer program, or CCT. In sheer amount of money involved alone, the CCT dwarfs all programs undertaken by the Philippine government in any administration from Aguinaldo to Aquino. From a budget of P12 billion in 2010, President Aquino has pushed for a budget of around P45 billion this year and up to the end of the Aquino administration in 2016 we can expect the budget for CCT to increase. It’s a sure bet that when a new administration—not sympathetic to the PNoy administration—takes over, we can expect a string of plunder cases to be filed, ranging from the billions of administrative cost to hundreds of thousands of ghost beneficiaries of the CCT program. But what could make the CCT program less controversial and perhaps more palatable to the skeptics who are doubtful about the long-term effect and benefit of a handout program which is partly funded by international loans is an innovative idea by Bataan Governor Tet Garcia. Garcia’s idea is simple. He says that all the goals of the CCT program from ensuring that the nutritional needs of schoolchildren from poor families are addressed to making sure that family beneficiaries make sure that their children attend school is to integrate a school feeding program as part of the CCT. The Bataan governor says that by offering breakfast in school for children of CCT beneficiaries, or even children of non-CCT beneficiaries, it will be the parents themselves who will make certain that their children go to school. Garcia, known for his bulldog approach to his many advocacies, is serious in pushing through with this.  He has in fact campaigned with his fellow governors at the League of Provinces of the Philippines. In fact, Garcia has succeeded in convincing his fellow governors to pass a resolution “Urging the Honorable Corazon Juliano-Soliman Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to turn-over to the Department of Education the responsibility of providing for the nutritional needs of children in line with the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as well as the corresponding funds for DepEd to do so.” The League of Provinces pointed out that “there is a need to reinforce the role of DepEd in the implementation of the educational and nutritional program of the 4Ps” while stressing that the “4Ps is a convergence program involving the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the implementing agency.” In the resolution, the governors said the province of Bataan, in collaboration with the Department of Education-Region 3, shall be a pilot province in the implementation of the proposed new set-up. Garcia is confident that Bataan will be able to demonstrate that a school-based program to be implemented by DepEd and supported by the DSWD through its CCT program and with the cooperation of the local government is easily implementable. He said he has already demonstrated this capability in the feeding program for provincial jail detainees. He said that for P50 pesos a day the province is able to provide three full and nutritionally balanced meals for their detainees.
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