MANILA -- Saying Filipinos should be taught how to fish and not only to receive fish, Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said on Thursday that billions of funds being used for cash conditional transfer (CCT) program should be cut and use it to help poor but deserving small entrepreneurs.
"We gave PHP65 billion pesos (a year) to those at the bottom of the pyramid which is good but frankly, it does not teach them how to fish. We're just giving them the fish. So we have to change that," Concepcion, a successful businessman, said in a Palace media briefing.
Concepcion clarified that he is not pushing for the removal of the government's CCT or Pantawaid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4PS) that was formally launched in 2008 under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
"My proposal is maybe over the next 10 years, 10 percent of that (CCT funds) should gradually move to government interventions," he said.
He said the funds should be used to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) projects like shared facilities, for Science and Technology and for Department of Agriculture (DA) programs particularly equipment for small entrepreneur farmers.
"I mean not cutting the CCT overnight but doing it over the period of 10 years and shifting that funds towards the still poor small and micro entrepreneurs," Concepcion said.
"CCT is fine, you can keep it there but eventually that has to migrate towards more government interventions assuming our budget is limited," he added.
Concepcion said poverty in the country will remain forever unless the government comes out with enough support to the deserving sectors particularly for agriculture.
He said agriculture sector should get more share of the government's funds to rehabilitate idle lands particularly in the provinces where agricultural harvests are abundant.
"I think, over time, this will have to be absorbed. I think every secretary understands that more funds have to be given to those who work hard," Concepcion, who floated the idea to the Cabinet members, said.
He said CCT is a dole out which will be forever a lifeline which "ends there and not returned."
According to him, Vietnam's poverty rate has gone down from 60 to 20 percent over the last two decades due to its huge investment poured in agriculture sector.
He said government intervention not only through funding but mentorship and technical training programs would make agriculture as driver of economic growth.
"Mentorship is really a powerful tool. We can't wait for our educational system to improve. There are many entrepreneurs out there already who need a lifeline, advice, guidance and direction on how they can move from basically survival entrepreneurship to sustainability," he said.
Concepcion said President Duterte's proposal to launch loan initiatives that will be given to micro and small entrepreneurs is also a welcome development to improve agriculture sector.
"Unless we really change the landscape of agriculture. Agri is the game changer for poverty eradication. If we don't and we do not achieve that then this country will be forever be a poor country," he said.
Concepcion lauded DA Secretary Manny Pinol for giving all his best to support the agriculture sector.
"But he needs the entire support of the private sector and we are glad that many are responding. They started responding by buying from the onion farmers to sell to the large supermarkets," he said.
He said the real essence of inclusive growth is when the private sector and government really come together as one and really help fight poverty. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency