Solon says middle-income families might need 4Ps

Published June 4, 2018, 2:37 PM

by iManila Developer

By Ellson Quismorio

A Mindanao lawmaker is suggesting the expansion of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps to include families higher up the poverty line in case petroleum costs continue to shoot up.


According to Iligan City lone district Rep. Frederick Siao, world oil prices–which have a ripple effect on other basic goods–are again marching toward $100 per barrel.

“If [local] fuel prices rise too much when world oil prices return to $100 per barrel as some oil industry analysts have not discounted or have deemed possible in the months ahead, it may become necessary for our national government to expand the 4Ps to include middle-income families,” Siao said.

The 4Ps is the state’s flagship poverty alleviation program. It is basically a conditional cash transfer program that targets the “poorest of the poor” among Filipino families.

But that requirement could be changed given the economic circumstances, Siao said.

“Unless remedial measures are put in place in the weeks ahead, to include not just the poorest of the poor among the 4Ps recipients, but also the households with income of up to P30,000 per month.

“This option may not be far-fetched,” opined the congressman, who is a member of the House economic affairs committee.

Siao predicts that the rise in local fuel prices–along with the volatile peso-dollar rate and rising inflation–will become key talking points among politicians in the coming months as they gear toward the May 2019 midterm polls.

“Inflation, local fuel prices, and the peso-dollar rate could even become crucial election issues when the election season sets in November 2018 to January 2019.”

Analysts say that global benchmark Brent crude will climb to $90 a barrel by 2020.

Some sectors have worried about the great burden skyrocketing world oil prices could bring to consumers amid the recent implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, which added excise tax on fuel.

Conceived in 2007, 4Ps is designed to facilitate health and educational cash assistance for qualified beneficiaries in exchange for actions that encourage human capital development.

Qualified household-beneficiaries are entitled to a maximum annual subsidy of P15,000 per household according to the Official Gazette.

The P15,000 subsidy is broken down as follows: P500 in monthly health assistance or P6,000 (P500 x 12) per year; and P300 in educational assistance for 10 months per registered child (maximum of three), or P9,000 per year (P300 x 10 = P3,000, x 3).

Siao is also a vice chairman of the tourism committee.