Give the poor the fish, at the same time teach them to fish

Enrile wants CCT beneficiaries to work for stipend

Kim Tan, GMA News

Although he supports the proposed 2012 national budget, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Monday suggested that beneficiaries of the Aquino administration's conditional cash transfer (CCT) program work in exchange for the stipend that they will be receiving.

"The people who are going to be recipients must work for it. We are making them mendicants," Enrile said during the Senate finance committee's deliberations on the proposed 2012 national budget.

The CCT grants monthly stipend of up to P1,400 to 2.3 million of the 4.6 million poorest families nationwide. It is part of DSWD's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

In his second State of the Nation Address, President Benigno Aquino III said he expects three million families to benefit from the program by next year.

In the proposed P1.8-trillion national budget for next year, P39 billion will go to the CCT program— an 89-percent increase from the P23 billion allotted for the project this year.

On Monday, Budget Sec. Florencio Abad explained that CCT beneficiaries are only required to do three things:

•make sure that their children go to school 85 percent of the time;

•make sure that their children are immunized; and

•mothers undergo prenatal and maternal health care.

Enrile, however, said maybe the beneficiaries can be asked to clean the environment or plant trees, among other things.

"They must contribute to the building and strengthing of the country," he said.

Abad, for his part, said they are "open" to making changes in the conditions of the CCT.

Ito ay isang tama at mabuting idea. Habang tinutulungan ng pamahalaan ang mga pinakamahirap sa ating lipunan sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay sa kanila ng pera para pantawid gutom, ang pagbigay sa kanila ng pagkakataong paghirapan nila ng kahit kaunti ang kanilang natanggap na biyaya mula sa pamahalaan ay makapagbigay sa kanila ng kakaunting dangal sa kanilang mga sarili sa halip na iisipin nilang sila'y nililimusan ng pamahalaan. At sa gayon din na pagkakataon, matutunan din nila at ng kanilang mga anak ang kahalagahan ng pagsisikap at may posibilidad na makakatulong ito na unti-unting maiaalis sa kanilang mga isipan ang pagka "Utak Inutil" at sa halip na piliing umaasa sa gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng "inutil" na uri ng pamumulubing pamumuhay ay piliin nilang sabayan at suklian ng pagsisikap ang biyayang kanilang natatanggap.

There is a Chinese Proverb that says, "If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime."

If our objective is really to help people, then let us not just give them the help they need for the day but we must be really concerned by going beyond temporary solutions. Teaching them to fish for themselves is a better solution than providing them fish everytime they need it. It is better to teach them how to do something than to do it for them. Giving someone a fish is good for the short term, but it is better to teach them how to do it so that in the long term they can independently take care of themselves. For example, a mother could cook for her children, but if she never teaches them to cook, they will always be dependent on her for meals. If she teaches them how to cook they will be able to take care of themselves for the rest of their lives.

To make a difference, one has to overcome negativism by staying positive. Positive things will always trigger negative reactions from their opposites. So be not embarassed if critics will mock your generosity for giving a hungry and poor jobless man a fish; being kind is better than being critical. And be not afraid if cynical people will doubt your true intention for teaching poor jobless people to fish; an honest desire to help the poor emancipate themselves from poverty can solve the problem than cynicism.

[James 2: 14-18]

What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled;” and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs, what good is it?

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.