MANILA – Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday said he supports the plan of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to give 40-kilogram rice bags to poor family-beneficiaries of conditional cash transfer (CCT) every month.
“Gusto natin ito. Ilalagay lang mula sa isang bulsa ng pamahalaan sa isa pang bulsa ang bilyong pisong halaga ng bigas na ito (We like this idea. The billions spent will simply be taking it from one government pocket and placing it in another),” said Pangilinan, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food.
Earlier, DSWD Assistant Secretary Hope Hervilla said the plan implements a campaign promise of President Duterte, who reiterated it during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Kung mapapatupad nang maayos, siguradong mapupunta sa nangangailangang mahihirap ang bigas at malamang na hindi ito i-rebag (If properly implemented it will certainly go to the poor who need the rice most directly and decrease the chance of rebagging),” Pangilinan, former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM).
“Matutulungan ding maisaayos ang pinansya ng National Food Authority (It will also help improve the financial health of the NFA),” he added.
At P33 per kilogram of NFA rice, this additional benefit is estimated to cost the government P1,320 per CCT family-beneficiary per month, or about P5.808 billion for all 4.4 million beneficiaries per month.