Soliman says fate of 4Ps in voters’ hands in May
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—No laws would compel the country’s next President to enforce the Aquino administration’s social reform programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman said here.
The fate of these programs would now be up to people voting for new leaders in the 2016 elections, she said.
She, however, did not identify any candidate who could sustain these projects when she addressed a conference on community-driven development attended by social workers and Cordillera mayors.
Social mechanisms like the 4Ps (the conditional cash transfer program or CCT), the government’s sustainable livelihood program (which funds micro-businesses for the poor), and barangay projects selected and financed through a community-driven development system worked during President Aquino’s term, she said.
“Now, no law today requires new leaders to continue these social programs, except for the social pension fund which is required by [Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003] and the hiring of day care workers which is demanded by [RA 8980 or the Early Childhood Care and Development Act],” Soliman said.
The administration’s social pension fund subsidizes the needs of senior citizens whose families are not financially prepared to care for them, she said.
“The 4Ps, the community-driven development system and the sustainable livelihood program are policy programs,” Soliman said.
Of these programs, the 4Ps had divided leaders because of the huge budgetary requirements needed to grant eligible families up to P1,400 in monthly stipends provided they ensure that their children get regular medical examinations and are in school.
Began during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the government financed CCT program with a P10-billion allocation for less than a million poor families.
But the budget grew quickly when Mr. Aquino continued the program in 2010, Soliman said, “because this administration gives social protection that much importance.”
She said 4.4 million families and 10 million children are eligible for CCT stipends. In 2016, the CCT program would cost the government P69 billion.
“It is the choice of leadership that will ensure these processes will continue and funds will be allocated,” she said.
Soliman, during an Oct. 15 forum here, said measures that would make a CCT program a law are in place. “In the beginning, [the Department of Social Welfare and Development] was not sure [drawing up a CCT law] was what we wanted to do. What we needed to assess was… if you institutionalize [CCT], what’s the mechanism for the transition? We do not believe [poor families] would forever be [shouldered by CCT],” she said.
The new measures in Congress would create an oversight group that would review, assess and determine if CCT has achieved its purpose, she said. The measures, however, have not been certified as urgent, she added. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.