By Charissa Luci-Atienza
More than 840,000 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) with cash cards, including homeless street families and indigenous peoples, received their cash grants on Tuesday (March 24), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said late Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement, the Department said that among those who received their grants for the months of December 2019 and January 2020 were “more than 140,000 beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT).”
DSWD said the MCCT is a sub-component of the 4Ps program that uses a modified approach in implementing the conditional cash transfer program for poor families, including homeless street families, indigenous peoples, and families in need of special protection.
More than 700,000 beneficiaries of the Regular Conditional Cash Transfer (RCCT) from the National Capital Region (NCR), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Regions I, II, and III also received their cash grants, the DSWD said.
“The cash grants of beneficiaries from other regions will be credited on March 26 and March 28,” the department said.
4Ps National Program Manager Director Gemma B. Gabuya said the “nationwide” distribution of 4Ps grants for the months of December 2019 and January 2020 to holders of Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) cash cards started Tuesday.
“There’s a schedule, and the distribution started Tuesday, it’s nationwide. Others will receive their cash grants today,” she told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
The DSWD earlier said the beneficiaries with EMV cash cards were to receive their grants on March 24, 26, 28, and April 4.
“Landbank is the one crediting grants. DSWD ensures grants are available,” Gabuya said.
According to the DSWD, more than 3.6 million beneficiaries are holders of cash cards. As of January 31, 2020, there are more than 4.2 million active 4Ps beneficiaries.
The DSWD earlier advised 4Ps beneficiaries to strictly follow the guidelines on withdrawing their cash grants using their cash cards.
“Wait for municipal link or city link notification on credit/entering cash grant into your account before heading to ATMs. Once your city links or municipal links confirmed there is a cash grant available, you can go to Landbank ATM,” the DSWD said in a Facebook post.
The agency advised the 4Ps beneficiaries to wear a face mask or cover their faces with a handkerchief, and bring alcohol or hand sanitizer when leaving the house to withdraw their grants.
“Maintain social distancing or not sticking to queuing [at] the bank. It’s better if one meter between each,” the department also said.
The DSWD informed the 4Ps beneficiaries that EMV cards can also be used to buy food and items at groceries or supermarkets with POS devices.
“After withdrawing or buying items, make sure to wash your hands, change clothes, and disinfect [before entering your] home. Once again, let’s all be careful,” it added.
The DSWD announced earlier that it has waived the conditionalities for the 4Ps beneficiaries for a two-month period from February to March this year.
It said the beneficiaries can expect full cash grants from February to March without complying with the program conditionalities after a resolution on force majeure was signed.
The DSWD explained that Rule VIII, Section 15 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act (RA) No. 11310 or the 4Ps Act authorizes the DSWD Secretary to suspend the monitoring of the compliance of beneficiaries with program conditionalities under force majeure circumstances.
“This means that beneficiaries will be receiving their full grants for the said period sans compliance to program conditions,” the DSWD said.
Under the 4Ps program, beneficiaries receive monthly a rice subsidy of P600 and health assistance of P500.
Beneficiaries with enrolled elementary students receive P300 cash assistance, while those with children enrolled in high school received P500.
Cash grants are granted to the beneficiaries who comply with the following program conditionalities: children 3 to 18 years old must be enrolled in kindergarten, elementary, and high school, and attend classes at least 85 percent of the time each month; children 0-5 years old must receive regular preventive health check-ups, growth monitoring, and vaccines; pregnant women must get pre- and post-natal care (must be attended by skilled/professional health workers); children in elementary must receive de-worming pills twice a year; and the grantee/parent/guardian must attend the monthly Family Development Session.
The department also assured the public that it “continues to look into different modes of providing social services without prejudice to public health and safety.”