Strengthen 4Ps, lawmaker urges Congress
MANILA, Philippines — The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Act (4Ps) remains a “potent tool” in the fight against poverty, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Romero Quimbo said Thursday as he called on Congress to “strengthen” safeguards of the program and be “vigilant” in its implementation.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed 4Ps into law, Republic Act No. 11310, on April 17 but it was only announced publicly on Wednesday.
RA 11310 institutionalizes the government’s cash transfer program that aims to reduce poverty and beef up investments in social services.
Under the law, the government will provide conditional cash aid for a maximum of seven years to poor beneficiaries chosen by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV were the principal authors and sponsors of the measure in the Senate. Quimbo and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin were two of the principal authors in the House of Representatives
Addressing critics of the 4Ps program, Quimbo cited multiple studies that found the program having positive health and educational impact on the children of beneficiaries.
Although there have been a “few bad eggs who have abused and politicized the system,” the solution is “not to scrap the program and deprive ourselves of one of our most potent tools in the fight against intergenerational poverty” and to “strengthen the safeguards of the program and be vigilant in its implementation.
Villarin said that with the passage of the law “we can make poverty history.”
“The 4Ps is a compassionate and effective social justice measure to lift families out of poverty through targetting. Institutionalizing it will strengthen measures against leakage and expand programs for families,” Villarin added.
Citing a World Bank study, Villarin said the 4Ps program already lifted 1.5 million Filipinos out of poverty.
The law also mandates the DSWD to revalidate qualified beneficiaries every three years, using a standard targeting system. Farmers, fisherfolk, and those in the informal sector and disadvantaged areas would automatically be included in the system.
Under the law, beneficiaries would be given a monthly grant of not lower than P300 per child enrolled in daycare and elementary programs for a maximum of 10 months a year, P500 per child enrolled in junior high school, and P700 per child enrolled in senior high school.
A health and nutrition grant of not lower than P750 per month for a maximum of 12 months a year would also be given. (Editor: Cenon B. Bibe Jr.)
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