DSWD proposes P44.25B budget for cash doles for 3.5M familiesBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The P44.25-billion proposed budget for the conditional cash transfer program in 2013 would allow the Department of Social Welfare and Development to add some 800,000 program beneficiaries and help other poverty-reduction programs of the government, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said on Monday.
In justifying the increase in the CCT budget, Soliman said the CCT, also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or 4Ps, constituted 75 percent of the DSWD’s entire proposed budget of P55.97 billion for next year. She said this would cover all the 3.5-million targeted household-beneficiaries for 2013.
“The DSWD’s proposed budget for 2013 focuses on strengthening the 4Ps, the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan–Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-Cidss), Sustainable Livelihood, Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, Supplementary Feeding Program, and other protective services so that more poor families would be reached and not left behind,” Soliman said at the end of the Senate budget hearing last week.
The same budget has already been approved in the House committee on appropriations. Both the Senate and the House have scheduled the DSWD for plenary presentation.
Soliman said the DSWD budget would be 2.8 percent of the total national proposed budget of P2.006 trillion, and 7.9 percent of the total budget for social services.
Of the proposed CCT budget, P40.4 billion has been proposed to go to cash grants straight to the beneficiaries’ ATMs through Landbank or through Landbank-accredited conduits in areas without Landbank ATMs. As of August 15, there were 3,038,420 household-beneficiaries and more than 7.4 million children enrolled in the program.
“I am confident that our legislators see the importance of investing in our children whom the DSWD is trying to keep in school and in good health; thus, we are optimistic that our proposed budget for 2013 will be approved,” Soliman said.
Under the 4Ps, each household can get P500 for health and P300 educational assistance for up to three children below 14 years old, or a maximum of P1,400.
Other programs funded under the 2013 budget are the Supplementary Feeding Program, P2.9 billion; Sustainable Livelihood, P1.8 billion; Social Pension for Indigent Filipino Senior Citizens, P1.5 billion; Disaster Response, P662 million; Kalahi-Cidss, P650 million; Comprehensive Program for Street Children, P36.5 million; and Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons, P23.6 million.
Earlier, representatives of the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) agreed on the effectiveness of the 4Ps based on their evaluation of the program.
“After two and a half years of implementation and more than a year of data collection and analysis, the Impact Evaluation done by the World Bank, in collaboration with SWS, and supported by the ADB, and AusAID, shows that the program is on track and is indeed achieving its objectives of keeping children healthy and in school. The program is effective in creating avenues for the poor to have improved quality of life,” Soliman said.
For her part, Junko Onishi, social protection specialist of the World Bank, said, “Although these results are preliminary and more in-depth analyses are ongoing, the evidence suggests that Pantawid Pamilya is on track and having impacts on the beneficiary households. When the analysis is completed, we will know the full spectrum of the impacts the program brings as well as the challenges for future improvement.”