Lawmaker: Eradicate jueteng before cash transfer

09/27/2010 - A LAWMAKER called for the total eradication of illegal numbers game, jueteng, before the full implementation of the government's conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

Representative Ben Evardone (lone district, Eastern Samar), chair of the House committee on public information, said there should be enough safeguards against the possible adverse effects of the CCT program of the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD).

"I am apprehensive that a substantial chunk of the billions of pesos allotted by the DSWD will be diverted by their beneficiaries to jueteng, swertres and masiao, making the national budget an accessory for illegal gambling," Evardone stressed.

As part of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program, the Aquino administration will be shelling out P21.2 billion for the CCT next year through the DSWD.

The lawmaker said "we should not blind to the reality that the cash transfers to the poorest of the poor will be channeled into gambling bets nationwide".

"Otherwise, this CCT program would also help shore up the already huge financial empires – and political clout – of the gambling lords," he added.

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman targets around 300,000 poor families on the first wave of the CCT implementation next year.

Although there is no debate that CCT can help ease poverty, Everdone said safety nets should be in place to make sure that the program is not overshadowed by potential pitfalls
(Sun Star)

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