WB OKs $300 million additional funding for 4Ps program
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The World Bank has extended $300 million in additional financing support to the Philippines for the provision of subsidies to poor Filipino families under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, in behalf of the Philippine government, and World Bank country director Mara Warwick yesterday signed a $300-million loan agreement, which aims to augment funding for the 4Ps under the second phase of the Social Welfare Development and Reform Program.

Secretary Rolando Bautista and Undersecretary Aimee Torrefranca-Neri of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) witnessed the signing ceremony, which was held at the Department of Finance (DOF) office in Manila. 

“I thank the World Bank for facilitating additional financing for the Second Social Welfare Development and Reform

Program. The bank has been a strong and reliable partner in the implementation of our conditional cash transfer initiative called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps,” Dominguez said.

The finance chief said the additional funding from the World Bank would strengthen the government’s cash transfer program until 2022 by providing more resources, improving the project’s performance, monitoring and evaluation procedures, and upgrading the 4P’s program management.

It will also help boost early childhood development and fight malnutrition among 8.7 million children from some 4.2 million families currently benefiting from the 4Ps program, he said.

This latest loan brings the World Bank’s total contribution to the 4Ps to $1.26 billion since it provided funding support to the program in 2010, Dominguez said.

Dominguez likewise cited the World Bank for its assistance in strengthening the capability of the DSWD and in the establishment of the ‘Listahanan’ database for the 4Ps national household targeting system.

As the Listahanan database will be gradually linked to the National ID system, Dominguez said the targeting of beneficiaries, as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of the 4Ps and other social protection initiatives are expected to improve.

“We are pleased that the government continues to strive to achieve even greater impacts from the program, including through innovations and investment in strengthening the Listahanan household targeting system; sharpening the program’s focus on children’s health and nutrition to reduce childhood stunting; and improving the payment system through the introduction of digital technology for timely payments,” Warwick said in her speech during the signing ceremony.

Warwick cited a World Bank study, which estimated that the country’s cash transfer programs are the second most significant contributor to poverty reduction in the Philippines after individuals’ wage earnings from non-agricultural activities.

Recognizing the effectiveness of the 4Ps, Dominguez said President Duterte in April this year signed into law Republic Act (RA) No. 11310 institutionalizing this program to ensure that it will continue into the future.

Dominguez said the 4Ps is “an indispensable component of the more comprehensive effort to combat cross-generational poverty” in the Philippines.

AIMEE TORREFRANCA-NERI DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT WORLD BANK
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