Pimentel eyes raps vs Ochoa, Soliman over gov’t CCT program

By Jason de Asis

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, February 28, 2011-Former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who authored the Local Government Code, yesterday said he will file a petition to the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the government from implementing the controversial conditional cash transfer (CCT) with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the implementing agency.

During the barangay good governance seminar, Pimentel said that he will file a petition for certiorari with the SC this week to compel the government to stop the DSWD from pushing through with the CCT. He said the petition will name as respondents Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa and DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman.

Pimentel said he is not against the CCT per se but he opposed the DSWD being the lead agency to implement. He said the government should let the local government units to handle the program.

"I am not opposing the CCT although I have reservations about it because I fear it’s a dole-out but the LGUs should be the one to handle it, not the DSWD," he said. "Afterall, it is the LGUs which have the capability to determine which of the families belong to the poor," he said.

Pimentel said that the LGC has effectively devolved the functions of the DSWD and national government agencies to LGUs and to let the DSWD handle the program is like reverting to the old set-up.

"Besides who is in the best position to determine the level of poverty in the place, is it the LGU and the barangays," he said.

He said by letting the DSWD to run the show, it will defeat the spirit and purpose of genuine autonomy, adding that the DSWD’s plan to tap 4,000 people to implement the program is highly questionable. "Imagine you will hire 4,000 peolple just for that? I don’t think it’s practical," he said. (Jason de Asis)

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