New law institutionalizes Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
New law institutionalizes Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program
In this file photo, mothers and their children line up for free immunization at a health center in Barangay Payatas, Quezon City.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure that institutionalizes a cash transfer program that aims to address poverty and to improve the health and education of poor children. 

Republic Act No. 11310, signed last April 17, enumerates the policies governing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which provides cash grants to the poorest families. 

The law defined 4Ps as a national poverty reduction strategy and a human capital investment program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years. 

The National Advisory Council of the program, however, may recommend a longer period under "exceptional" circumstances.

The government has allotted about P88 billion for 4Ps this year. 

Critics have claimed that the program is a doleout scheme that encourages excessive dependence on government. Officials, however, claimed that cash transfers have lifted several people out of poverty in other countries.  

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall select qualified beneficiaries of the 4Ps using a standardized targeting system. The agency shall revalidate its list of beneficiaries every three years. 

Eligible beneficiaries include farmers, fisherfolk, homeless families, indigenous peoples, those in the informal settler sector and those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

Families considered poor and near- poor based on the standardized targeting system and poverty threshold issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority, those who have members who are aged zero to 18 years old or have members who are pregnant at the time of registration are also qualified to benefit from the program.   

Cash assistance for sending kids to school

The 4Ps also aims to encourage beneficiaries to send their children to school.

Households who send their children to school may receive cash assistance for a maximum of ten months per year. 

Conditional cash transfer grants per child enrolled in day care and elementary programs shall be at least P300 per month. 

Cash grant worth at least P500 per child will be given to households whose children are enrolled in junior high school.  

Cash transfer grant per child enrolled in senior high school will be at least P700.  

Health and nutrition grant shall not be lower than P700 per month for a maximum of 12 months per year.

The grant seeks encourage households to avail of health services. 

National and regional advisory councils composed of representatives from the DSWD, health, education, agriculture, labor, trade, agrarian reform, science departments and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority will be formed to ensure the smooth implementation of 4Ps and to recommend policies that will improve the delivery of services to beneficiaries. 

The law also calls for the creation of an independent monitoring committee composed of representatives from civil society that would complement the monitoring activities of government. 

A joint congressional oversight committee will also be formed to review the implementation of the program.

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