DAVAO CITY – Women’s group Gabriela scored the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for denying the mass arrests of street dwellers in Manila as part of the government’s effort to hide them from international media and delegates attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting.
Deputy Secretary General Misty Lorin, in a statement said the DSWD should scrap its Conditional Cash Transfer or CCT program, particularly the subprogram Modified CCT for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) that began in 2012.
“Taxpayer money is being wasted on a program that merely served as a poverty concealer for government,” she said.
Lorin said DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman “must stop passing the blame of arrests and detention of street dwellers to local government units not under her control because CCT is a national agency project with a huge budget and has proven to be a politicized tool to control the poor.”
“The budget allocated for the CCT program in 2015 is P59.4 billion to cover 4.4 million poor households, while the remaining P3.3 billion targets 218,377 beneficiary households under the Modified CCT in the form of rental assistance that in theory enables vagrants to move out of the streets and temporarily lease out rooms in squatter houses,” said Lorin.
The group said community leaders who have experience with the MCCT assert the dole out “has not addressed the demand for shelter and the poorly audited funds could have been used instead for creating jobs with living wages.”
“Despite DSWD’s claims that MCCT is regularly released and not just during international events such as APEC, the testimonies of mothers and their children traumatized and rendered unable to earn their living by the street sweeps belie these denials,” said Lorin.
The protesters demanded President Aquino to release all the indigent street dwellers now being presently detained in various holding facilities, and stop the implementation of the MCCT and other anti-poor projects. (davaotoday.com)