[PHOTO -Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 26, 2012 (MANILA STANDARD) By Macon Ramos-Araneta - Senator Ferdinand Marcos said on Sunday he would closely look at the ballooning government allocation for dole-outs to the poor known as Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which has grown from P24 billion in the past several years to P45 billion in the 2013 national budget.

Overall, I can see problems here (2013 budget) like the CCT funds which became bigger. It’s now P45 billion When I first sat as senator, it was P24 or P25 billion,” Marcos said.

He said the CCT funds should only be supplemental, and the poor should not be entirely dependent on it to the extent that they would find no need to look for work.

Intended as a poverty alleviation scheme, the CCT provides money to the country’s poorest households under certain conditions that include keeping their children in school. It has benefited at least three million families, but the government hoped to raise it to five million.

Over 26 percent of the Philippine population of about 95 million are considered to be living in poverty. The project started in the previous administration, but Aquino expanded it when he was elected in 2010.

Marcos said the best way to help the poor was to develop infrastructure because economic statistics show that Philippine industries were becoming smaller and smaller.

“We are just depending on remittances of overseas Filipino workers. That does not make a healthy economy,” Marcos said.

He said the government should look for long-term solutions to the problems of poverty and not rely on CCT funds as a remedy to poverty.

“As a short-term solution, CCT is fine. But in the long run, the government should make investments,” Marcos said.

Bongbong Marcos to Noynoy Aquino: Support govt drive, stop smoking By: Karl John C. Reyes, November 25, 2012 11:51 AM The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Sunday asked President Benigno Aquino III to stop smoking in support of his administration's push for the Sin Tax bill and its drive to reduce the number of smokers in the country.

“He was told by his doctor to quit smoking, and since his administration wants to reduce smoking in the country by imposing higher taxes on tobacco products, why not start from him?” he said in a radio interview.

Marcos said it is ironic that the government seeks to reduce smoking incidence, but its chief executive, who pushed for the enactment of the Sin Tax bill, could not quit smoking.

“Mahirap naman na gusto ng gobyerno nya na mabawasan ang naninigarilyo, pero naninigarilyo pa siya. Siguro (It would be difficult to tell its citizens to quit when he still smokes. Maybe) he should start quitting slowly,” he said.

Marcos added that he does not smoke because he is asthmatic.

Earlier, President Aquino’s smoking became an issue again when he delivered his keynote speech at the 9th Media Nation Summit in Tagaytay City on Friday; many observed that he was coughing and sneezing, common symptoms of smokers.

But Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino was coughing and sneezing during the event because he had not yet recovered from the influenza and allergic rhinitis he contracted before his trip to Cambodia last week to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit

"At a certain point, he would like to quit pero right now, ito ang nakakapag-destress sa kanya. Hayaan muna natin ang Pangulo na hanapan ng paraan. Alam naman niya kung ano ang importante (Smoking de-stresses him. Let us let the President find a solution to his smoking. He knows what are important),” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Saturday in an interview over state-owned radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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