‘4Ps registered P9 billion deficit due to budget cuts’

Shiela Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
�4Ps registered P9 billion deficit due to budget cuts�
Residents of Batasan in Quezon City receive cash aid at Quezon City Polytechnic Univesity from the government's social amelioration package.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the government had already registered a “budget deficit” of P9 billion after Sen. Imee Marcos slashed its budget by P13 billion.

Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum yesterday, 4Ps partylist Rep. JC Abalos noted the budget cut had gravely affected 4Ps beneficiaries as it led to the delayed release of their cash grants.

Abalos added this also caused a delay in the assessment of indigent families that may be qualified to enroll in the 4Ps program.

The lawmaker said he is poised to sponsor a measure that will initiate this probe, in aid of legislation.

Currently, there are 4.4 million families enrolled in the program.

Meanwhile, Marcos denied the “malicious” allegation hurled against her by Bongalon that she led the P13-billion budget cut in the 4Ps budget in 2023.

In a statement yesterday, Marcos clarified that what she did was to realign P8 billion from the 4Ps to “quickly implementable DSWD projects” like the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

This is because of the DSWD’s admission that only 45 percent of the 4Ps budget had been spent that year, Marcos said.

Another P5 billion was cut from the AICS budget not by her but by the bicameral conference committee, Marcos said.

House committee on appropriations vice chairman Rep. Raul Angelo Bongalon earlier said that close to 900,000 households did not receive their cash grants last year due to the budget reduction.

“If we do the math, P13 billion divided by P15,000 per household per year means 867,000 families or 4.3 million poor Filipinos without cash assistance under the 4Ps program of the DSWD last year,” Bongalon added.

DSWD is now working for the possible adjustment of the cash grants given to 4Ps beneficiaries so the benefits can cushion the economic shocks due to inflation, among other unpredictable events.

According to DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, they are reviewing the benefits, along with the National Economic and Development Authority and the PSA. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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