SC: Aquino’s anti-poverty program is constitutional

The Supreme Court says the Aquino government's conditional cash transfer does not encroach on LGUs' authority to deliver basic services

MANILA, Philippines – In a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Malacañang’s flagship program on poverty alleviation. The decision was dated July 17 but was released to the media only on Monday, July 30.

The SC, voting 14-0, said the executive branch did not step on the authority of local government units when it allocated in 2011 cash grants totaling P21 billion to poor families under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program. The CCT, which is supervised by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, has been listed by the Aquino administration as one of its most successful programs in fighting poverty. 

Former Sen Aquilino Pimentel Jr and two barangay officials had asked the SC to invalidate the provisions for the CCT program in the 2011 budget, saying the national government was encroaching on the power of LGUs to provide basic services to their respective constituencies. They said the CCT leads to a “recentralization of the already devolved functions” of the government under Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

But the Court, in a decision penned by Justice Estela Perlas Bernabe, said the Local Government Code does not preclude the national government from intervening in the delivery of services and implementing national programs, especially when these are done “in coordination with the LGUs concerned.” –

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