Villar seeks 4Ps review
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Cynthia Villar on Thursday sought a review of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as she directed social welfare officials to shift the program’s focus to livelihood training to help beneficiary families climb out of poverty.
At an organizational meeting with officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Villar noted that the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program gave much focus on health initiatives, an area that should already be covered by the Department of Health (DOH).
The program, a flagship poverty alleviation initiative under the Aquino administration, provides cash subsidies to some 4.4-million beneficiary households on the condition that they consistently comply with prerequisites such as regular health checkups for pregnant women and children, and enrollment of children from daycare through high school.
“The CCT has two bases: health and education. I can understand education, because if you send your child to school, that would solve intergenerational poverty. But why health?” Villar told reporters after the meeting.
She said the program should instead focus on education and livelihood.
“We have the DOH, we have universal health care, so why will DSWD handle health? Why not tie up [CCT] to agriculture, for poor farmers and fishermen?” she said.
She noted that 40 percent of the country’s 11.8-farmers and fisherfolk live below the poverty line, while 60 percent of the 3.5-million farmers earn just P50 a day or P1,500 a month.
The Department of Budget and Management is proposing a P78.7-billion budget for the CCT program, an increase from the previous budget of a little more than P60 billion.
“I think we should always review the models, we’re not questioning the budget or the money that will be spent for the poor. But I hope that the money will be spent well so that it will really improve the lives of the poor,” Villar said.
“In 2010, 27 percent (of the population) were poor. Now, it’s still 27 percent. What happened to the CCT? So it should be reviewed,” she said.
During the meeting, Villar also asked the DSWD for a list of all the program’s 4.4-million beneficiary households, most of whom come from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, at 417,703. RAM
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.