Advocacy group urges Congress to increase 4Ps budget to P113 B to cover over 1 M add’l children

Published September 26, 2020, 6:14 PM

by Ben Rosario

The Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development, a human development advocacy group, called on Congress to “uphold its commitment in the law” to support the conditional cash transfer program for the country’s poor families, saying that an increase in allocation from P108 billion to P113 billion will additionally cover over one million children.

In a statement, the PLCPD, through Executive Director Rom Dongeto, said the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) has been succeeding in achieving its main goal of ‘promoting human capital among poor families, especially children, to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.”

“The conditionalities will encourage discipline among qualified families that would result in the improvement of children’s health, nutrition, education and other aspects of their overall well-being,” the PLCPD said.

The organization, which involves lawmakers from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, said that among the conditions for regularly receiving the cash dole out from government is the assurance that schoolchildren from beneficiary families attend schools at least 85 percent of the school days.

Parents are also asked to ensure that children regularly visit barangay or municipal health care facilities for regular checkups.

“The 2020 budget for 4Ps still maintained the maximum enrollment of three children per household based on EO 16 series of 2008. However, this limit was lifted in Republic Act 11310, otherwise known as 4Ps Act of 2019,” noted the PLCPD.

It added: “Thus, we call on Congress to uphold its commitment in the law and increase the budget allocation for 4Ps from its current allocation of P108 billion to P113 billion so that an additional 1,023,874 children can be covered by the program.”

Data from the organization indicate that as of June 2020, the 4Ps has served 4.3 million poor households with 7.8 children. 

“This program has shown positive and encouraging results in contributing to children beneficiaries’ health and education. It is alarming though that there has been a remarkable decrease in coverage among 4Ps children beneficiaries from as high as 10.2 million children in November 2015 to its lowest of 7.8 million in 2020,” the PLCPD statement said. 

Dongeto said the PLCPD understands the current financial situation prevailing in the country as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, but pointed out that funding support for interventions to stop the disease from spreading “must not be at the expense of other programs for children.”

 Now more than ever, they need assistance from the government so they may stay healthy, active and educated so they may develop and sustain their natural defense against physical and mental disabilities,” stated Dongeto.