Shortage of farmers due to 4Ps abuse: Piñol
The country is running short of farm workers because of the dole-out mentality caused by the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or 4Ps anti-poverty program.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he saw proof of the adverse effect of the 4Ps program on rural productivity when he went to Brooke’s Point in Palawan.
Piñol said farmers sought help for rice transplanters and combined harvester-thresher, saying that the province does not have enough farm workers anymore.
“Dati marami kaming trabahante. Pero ngayon, mag-ani lang ng isang araw, aayaw na kasi may 4Ps,” he quoted a farm owner as saying during their forum.
He said the refusal of 4Ps beneficiaries to do farm work due to the presence of monthly financial support from government has confronted him in rice and corn production areas for years.
“It could be a danger sign of a growing mentality of mendicancy on the part of poor families who receive monthly allowances and now an additional amount for their rice allowance,” he warned.
Under the 4Ps program, families can get up to P1,400 a month by ensuring that pregnant women undergo medical examinations and children aged below 5 attend classes regularly.
Piñol said the program received a P54.9 billion funding for 2017, which is bigger than the P46-billion budget of the Department of Agriculture.
He said he saw the danger signs of the 4Ps program when he was still North Cotabato governor.
“Families who line up in front of the Land Bank of the Philippines to withdraw their cash dole-outs from the ATM would later be seen in Jollibee and the department stores buying cellphone loads,” he said.
He said the program has also resulted in corruption in poor areas in Mindanao where the ATM cards are controlled by local officials who offer cash advances to the beneficiaries and later would get a cut from the allowance.
Piñol said the Department of Agriculture will plan for 2018 based on the dearth of farm workers.
He said he has ordered the allocation of more funds for farm implements like tractors, transplanters, harvesters and dryers.