Manila: The Catholic Church charity arm is opposing President Benigno Aquino's plan to provide cash subsidies to poor families as it warned that such a gesture could promote wrongful reliance on government.
"We are worried that this might breed laziness and dependency from the government," Father Anton Pascual, Caritas Manila's executive director, said as he referred to the Aquino administration's plan to earmark a total 21 billion Philippine pesos (Dh1.8 billion) in subsidies to the poor this year under the so-called Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme.
Pascual said that while Caritas recognises the good intentions of the government, giving virtual "cash dole outs" to the poor, it is not a long term solution to the problem of abject poverty.
He said that teaching the poor to the dependent is not a solution to the soaring cost of basic necessities, especially food.
Earlier, the Social Welfare Department under Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman had proposed a 21 billion pesos outlay for the CCT. The programme intends to assist some 2.3 million poor families, by providing as much as 1,400 pesos per month for each family.
The assistance will be in the form of rice allowances, to encourage parents to send their children to school, as well as maternity assistance.
But Pascual said the government assistance programme may be too over bearing to the point of denigrating the poor.
"Let us provide assistance to the poor with dignity," Pascual was quoted as saying in the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' website, CBCPonline.net.
On Thursday, at least 52 members of the House Representatives signed a manifesto opposing the CCT. Among those who opposed the dole out plan was former president and now lawmaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.