The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) couldn’t agree more with the recommendation of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) to increase the cash grants received by the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), especially during this time of COVID-19 pandemic.
The DSWD said it welcomed the PIDS’ “timely” findings and recommendations to adjust the 4Ps cash grants given to more than 4.3 million beneficiaries, and to improve on the cash delivery mechanisms.
“The recommendation to increase the cash grant may also be timely as the country faces a health crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic,” it said in a statement.
It noted that starting last year, 4Ps household-beneficiaries received higher cash grants as mandated by Republic Act 11310 or the 4Ps Act.
According to the DSWD, program recipients receive monthly health grant amounting to P750 from P500.
“Education grant for children in senior high school is at P700 from P500, while the education grant for children in junior high school and elementary school remains at P500 and P300, respectively, for 10 months,” it noted.
Apart from the heath and education grants, the beneficiaries also receive rice subsidy amounting to P600 per month.
“The increase in the cash grants only happened after more than a decade, but with the program being institutionalized through the law and with the provision to allow the program’s Advisory Council to determine the amount of cash grants as stipulated in Section 7 of the 4Ps Act, the adjustment in cash grant is not far-fetched,” the DSWD said.
The DSWD’s 4Ps National Project Management Office (NPMO) also took note of the PIDS’ suggestion to enhance its cash delivery mechanisms.
It said there have been “challenges” in the cash grant delivery mechanisms, which include “converting pay-outs via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards but also accessibility of ATMs and electronic payment (e-payment) systems across the country.”
The 4Ps NPMO said this year, it will prioritize the improvement in the payment delivery mechanisms to allow the beneficiaries to enjoy their cash benefits with the timely receipt of their grants.
Launched in 2007 during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, 4Ps is an investment in human capital which aims to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by focusing on the education and health of the beneficiaries, the DSWD said.
From January to October 2020, the DSWD utilized more than P49 billion for the implementation of the program covering over 4.3 million registered active households across 41,676 barangays around the country.