Arroyo leads cash transfer to poor
MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in a good mood on Wednesday, showcased the government’s conditional cash transfer program for the poor in Pasay City.
Arroyo exchanged light banter with three women, among the recipients of the Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps, Relief for the Filipino Family), as they withdrew money from a Land Bank of the Philippines automated teller machine.
Arroyo’s mood did not falter even when the first recipient, 35-year-old Alma Pamplona, took a while to work the ATM machine.
“Actually, sabi ni Alma, nagagawa niya yan sa Taft pero ninerbiyos lang siya [Actually, Alma said she managed to withdraw money from the ATM at the Taft branch but she’s just nervous],” Arroyo said.
Pamplona is among the close to 400,000 families who receive as much as P9,000 a year – P6,000 for health expenses and P1,000 for the tuition of each child, for a maximum of three children – for as long as their kids stay in school.
Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral said the government hoped to expand the base of the 4Ps program to as many as 699,000 families by the end of 2009, from 379,000 at the end of 2008.
“So, demonstrate,” a giggling Arroyo told the second recipient, Kristeta Tiocson, as she was about to withdraw money from the ATM.
Arroyo noticed that the third recipient, Ruth Bermudes, was pregnant so she told her not to forget to undergo pre-natal screening.
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