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DSWD ready to expand 4Ps, waits for budget approval

Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to expand the educational grant of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to include the children aged 14 to 18 of family-beneficiaries next year.

However, Rodora Babaran, 4Ps national program manager, said the DSWD has to wait for Congress’ approval of the additional P10-billion DSWD budget before it could start its validation work on the expansion.

“We don’t want to give false hope to the families,” Babaran told The STAR as she explained that they would have to validate the 3.9 million family-beneficiaries to determine how many children aged 15 to 18 years old they have.

“We will still have to validate if they are going to school or are going to enroll next school year,” she said.

The DSWD official presented the CCT expansion proposal during the Development Communication Coordinating Network forum and press briefing at the La Breza Hotel in Quezon City yesterday.

About 2.2 million children are expected to benefit from the expansion from among the 3.9 million family-beneficiaries of the government’s poverty alleviation program.

The P10-billion additional funding requirement, Babaran said, was based on the projection of the 2.2 million children aged 14 to 18 from among the current family-beneficiaries.

Under the expansion, the DSWD said each child aged 14 to 18 would get an additional P500.

To date, the CCT covers eight million children aged 3 to 14, including 6.3 million children in the elementary and pre-school levels, and 1.7 million in high school.

A family-beneficiary currently gets P300 per child aged 3 to 14 years who goes to school and posts a minimum attendance rate of 85 percent.

If expanded to 14 to 18-year-old children, the DSWD expects the total CCT coverage to hit 10.2 million in 1,627 cities and municipalities all over the country.

The expansion seeks to address claims that the program is not effective in lifting the poor out of poverty.

Family-beneficiaries receive cash grants on the condition that pregnant women undergo prenatal check-ups and give birth in accredited birthing facilities, mothers must undergo postnatal check-up, children aged 0-5 must undergo preventive health check-up, children aged 6-14 must receive deworming pills at least twice a year, children aged 3-14 must attend school, and parents or guardians must attend the Family Development Session.

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) earlier said the CCT should be expanded to cover children up to 18 years, so they can be pushed to finish high school.

Celia Reyes of PIDS recommended that the program should not stop at the elementary level.

In a study on CCT, Reyes said the earning potential of high school graduates is higher compared to elementary graduates.

AGED BABARAN CELIA REYES CHILDREN DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT COMMUNICATION COORDINATING NETWORK DEVELOPMENT STUDIES FAMILY MILLION SCHOOL
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