DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The research group Center for Women Research (CWR) said the institutionalization of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) “merely reflects the inadequacies of the government in providing basic social services and its failure to eliminate the roots of poverty in the country.”
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the Republic Act 11310, institutionalizing the government’s cash subsidy program 4Ps.
In a statement released to the media on Tuesday, May 28, CWR executive director Jojo Guan underscored that 4Ps remains as a temporary relief and could never alleviate poverty.
The group said the dole-out mechanism of 4Ps gives “an illusion that the government provides all the necessary financial assistance to cover the basic needs of families.”
“In essence, 4Ps simply distracts people from demanding employment and sustainable livelihood opportunities, and accessible, affordable, and good quality government services for health, education, housing, and disaster response,” she said.
The 4Ps, which serves as the government’s flagship anti-poverty program started during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
CWR said that despite the failure of the program to uplift the lives of millions of Filipinos, the succeeding administrations continue to adopt and implement 4Ps.
“The DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) has yet to complete the assessment of the 4Ps; and there is still a pending motion to conduct on-sit hearings to evaluate the impacts of 4Ps on the beneficiaries. Why institutionalize 4Ps when it has yet to prove its value as a program? It would be a waste of public money,” Guan emphasized.
Family beneficiaries of 4Ps would receive a health grant of Php500 every month or a total of Php6,000 every year; and an education grant of Php300 per child every month for ten months, or a total of PhP3,000 every year.
Recently, the government added Php600 cash grant to beneficiaries as rice subsidy.
Meanwhile, due to the implementation of TRAIN Law, the government also provided a Php200 unconditional cash transfer (UCT) to poor households and individuals.
But the amount, CWR pointed out, remains inadequate even to the “very conservative and unrealistic” family living wage at Php10,481 in a month for a family of five declared by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Another research group, Ibon Foundation made an estimate that a family of five should have a budget of at least Php1,004 per day to meet their basic needs.
CWR also noted that the 4Ps has been receiving billions of allocation every year, but only around 4 million active household beneficiaries have benefited from the program since 2008.
The number of household beneficiaries, the group added, is still a far cry from the 21.6 million poor Filipinos who supposedly need assistance from the government. (davaotoday.com)