Sec. Manny Piñol Accepts Debate Challenge vs. Rep. Villarin Discussing 4Ps Benefits

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Former North Cotabato Governor and recent Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol accepted the debate challenge against Akbayan Party-List Representative Tom Villarin discussing the benefits of the government program Pantawid or 4Ps.

The debate between DA Secretary Manny Piñol and Rep. Tom Villarin was proposed by a law school dean after the Agriculture Secretary suggested that the P70-Billion budget of 4Ps should be used into an agricultural productivity program.




Rep. Tom Villarin disagrees with Piñol’s plans as he noted that the 4Ps program targets the poorest urban and rural families who don’t have assets like land and farm equipment, homeless families with children who can’t go to school, mothers and infants who need maternal health care. He also noted that once the government will abolish 4Ps, it’s another form of EJK affecting 4.5 million families.

Sec. Manny Piñol clarified on his latest social media post that before he will accept the debate challenge, he wanted himself to be clear with what he said earlier, he is not proposing for the abolition of the 4Ps funds altogether, he proposed to use the same amount of money for livelihood projects for the 4Ps beneficiaries to make them productive, instead of just giving out the cash assistance with very little supervision from government.

The DA Secretary also added that he believed there should be a timetable on how long a family would receive livelihood assistance from government, the 4Ps cash grants have taken away from ordinary people the drive to work, especially in the countryside, where many beneficiaries would just wait for their cash grants rather than look for other income earning opportunities.



Here’s the Complete Statement of Sec. Manny:

A debate? Why not?

LAW SCHOOL PROPOSES
DEBATE ON 4Ps BENEFITS

By Manny Piñol

A dean of a Law School sent me a message early today asking if I would be willing to engage Akbayan Congressman Tom Villarin in a debate on the controversial 4Ps Program.

Obviously, the offer for a debate was an offshoot of differing views Cong. Villarin and I shared on the issue of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of government.

Earlier, I shared the view that the funds for 4Ps totalling P70-B every year should be used instead for livelihood programs to contribute to productivity not only in food but other small-scale economic activities as well.

Since the start of the program under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, government identified millions of poor families all over the country who were given cash grants periodically to help them tide over the Asian Economic Crisis.

Even after the Asian Economic Crisis, the program was continued and was used for political purposes, especially during the last Presidential elections when the candidates of the administration really focused on the 4Ps program as proof of its care for the poor.

Cong. Villarin, in reaction to my pronouncement, said that it would not be wise to abolish the program because it helps millions of poor families nationwide.




He even compared my proposal to an “EJK” (extra-judicial killing) which would affect 4.5-million families nationwide.

I do not want to be perceived as arrogant or cocky but if the debate would result in a better understanding of the program, I would be willing to participate.

There are just several things that I would like to clarify on my position with regards to 4Ps:

1. I am not proposing the abolition of the 4Ps funds altogether. My proposal is to use the same amount of money for livelihood projects for the 4Ps beneficiaries to make them productive, instead of just giving out the cash assistance with very little supervision from government;

2. I believe that there should be a timetable on how long a family would receive livelihood assistance from government. Under the 4Ps cash grant program, it seems like families who are listed under the program could receive the benefits forever. This deprives other families who also need support from government from benefitting from the program.

3. The 4Ps cash grants have taken away from ordinary people the drive to work, especially in the countryside, where many beneficiaries would just wait for their cash grants rather than look for other income earning opportunities. The result of this is very low agricultural and fisheries productivity.

I know that the 4Ps issue is a very touchy and controversial issue, especially among our political leaders.

Many other political leaders share my views and thoughts on the amount of money being splurged by government on the program which could have been used for productive endeavours.

But the 4Ps is like a tiger which will devour the political leader the moment he gets off it.

Politicians are afraid that once they recommend for the review of the program, the 4Ps beneficiaries would get back at them during election time.

So, instead of doing what is right, they just enjoy the ride on the back of the tiger.

The question, however, is until when should this situation continue.

In the meantime, this country is seeing the birth of a generation of mendicants who rely on government for their subsistence.

I am sorry but I am not your typical politician. I call a Spade a Spade and I will always stand up and speak up for what I believe is right even if it would cost me political brownie points.

#Changeishere! #ProductivityNotMendicancy!

(Credit to the creator of the meme although I was assigned to the wrong department, DAR. It’s actually DA.) — with Melo Abon, Vicky Dadivitan Aznalab and Bernadette Viaña Monguete.

Source: Sec. Manny Piñol FB Page

Ed Umbao

Founder of PhilNews.xyz | co-Founder of PhilNews.ph

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