Legarda Seeks to Institutionalize Pantawid Pamilya Program to Reduce Poverty and Promote Human Capital Dev’t

July 14, 2016

To sustain the gains of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Senator Loren Legarda filed a bill seeking to institutionalize and expand the reach of the program to reduce chronic poverty and promote human capital development in the country.

“The number of household-beneficiaries covered by the 4Ps has risen to around 4.4 million from only 360,000 beneficiaries when it was first implemented in 2008,” Legarda said. However, she noted that while the cash grants provided under the 4Ps may provide immediate social assistance, the program must be viewed as a long-term social development program to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty among the chronically poor families through improvements in their education, health, nutrition and poverty outcomes.

“By ensuring that children from poor households have good nutrition and are able to finish high school, their family’s odds of becoming non-poor becomes high,” she added.

A 2013 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies estimates that the average daily wage of a high school graduate is 40% higher than that of someone who only finished elementary schooling; while an elementary graduate’s average daily wage will be 10% higher than that of an elementary undergraduate.

Legarda explained that Senate Bill No. 33 will institutionalize 4Ps as a permanent program of the government, with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the central planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring body of the program in cooperation with other government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to ensure that the beneficiaries include the poorest population, through the implementation of rigorous household assessment and application of a monitoring system that involves the collection of household data on a continuing basis.

The Senator also suggests creating a body which will be known as the National Inter-Agency Council (NIAC) which shall be composed of the DSWD as the Chair, the Department of Health, the Department of Education, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the National Economic and Development Authority, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Philippine Statistics Authority as members, for more effective coordination of the implementation of the 4Ps. They will meet at least once a month or as often as necessary to discuss the program coordination matters and policy guidelines.

“We have to put in place a system that will ensure effective coordination across agencies, careful monitoring and efficient data collection to promote transparency and accountability and to see to it that the social assistance goes to the right people,” Legarda stressed.

The Senator also called on other government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Department of Trade and Industry as well as manpower agencies and Negosyo Centers to provide employment and training opportunities to those who have completed their high school program and to make available entrepreneurship programs to increase the livelihood options and opportunities of the graduates.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will be geared towards the reduction of extreme hunger and chronic poverty, the achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, improvement of maternal health, reduction of child mortality, and reduction of vulnerability to disasters.