By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that with the increase in the price of oil in the world market, President Duterte will unlikely support the proposal to change the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme to a livelihood program.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol expressed that he plans to propose to President Duterte that will alter the rules and mechanisms of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to help contribute to farm productivity in the country.
Piñol said that the P70-billion budget of the 4Ps could be used to start a livelihood program. He also said that there are complaints from provinces that there are no more workers since people in the agriculture sector no longer want to work.
He also said that this will return the dignity of the people instead of them lining up in front of ATMs just to get money. He added that the P70 billion from the government is just being put to waste through its current scheme.
Roque, in his Monday Palace press briefing, said that President Duterte knows that the 4Ps is what the people need now to ease the effect of the surging price of oil in the world market.
“Well, ang stand po natin ngayon, kinakailangan ng taong bayan ang 4Ps lalo na po ngayong mga panahon na nagtataas ang presyo ng bilihin (Well, our stand right now is the people need the 4Ps especially in times that prices of commodities are also increasing),” he said.
“So sa tingin ko po, knowing the President, mas bibigyan niya ng prayoridad ngayon ang 4Ps more than ever (So knowing the President, I think he will give priority to the 4Ps even more),” he added.
The Palace official added that instead of supporting, President Duterte may even do the opposite of what Piñol wants to happen.
“Ang alam ko lang po, sa pagkakakilala ko sa Presidente, at talagang pinag-aaralan ko si Presidente nang hindi ako magkaroon ng pagkakamali bilang Spokesperson, hindi po ata niya masusuportahan ‘yan (Based from how I know the President, and I study him so I won’t make a mistake as a spokesperson, he cannot support that),” he said.
“At tingin ko (And I think), the President’s action will be the opposite. Titingnan niya po kung pwede pang palawakin ang 4Ps sa mga panahong ito (He will see if he can strengthen the program at this time),” he added.
Over the weekend, Malacañang revealed that President Duterte ordered his Cabinet officials to look for alternatives amid the surging price of oil in the world market.
Roque said that Duterte gave three marching orders to the departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Energy (DOE), in an attempt to ease the effect of the price hike to the citizens.
Roque said Duterte ordered the DTI to activate all its surveillance teams to strictly monitor the price of commodities and arrest those who go far beyond the suggested retail price.
The President also instructed the DOLE to see if there is a need to increase the minimum wage, and the DOE to look for other countries where the Philippines can get cheaper oil.