By Bernadette D. Nicolas, May 23 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business World

President Duterte has signed into law the measure institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the flagship poverty alleviation program of the government that was first implemented during the term of former President now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

With the signing of the new law Republic Act 11310 on April 17, 4Ps is now an added function of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and a regular program funded from its annual appropriation.

Under the new law, the government will provide Conditional Cash Transfers to poor households for a maximum of seven years to improve the health, nutrition and education aspect of their lives. But under exceptional circumstances, the National Advisory Council headed by DSWD may also recommend a longer period for the implementation of 4Ps.

The Advisory Council is tasked to determine the amount of  Conditional  Cash  Transfer to beneficiaries.

Using a standardized targeting system, the DSWD shall select qualified household beneficiaries of the 4Ps. It is also mandated to conduct a regular validation of beneficiary targeting every three years.

Eligible beneficiaries shall include farmers, fisherfolks, homeless families, indigenous peoples, those in the informal settler sector and those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, including those in areas without electricity shall be automatically included in the standardized targeting system.

However, they are only considered eligible if they are classified as poor and near-poor based on the Standardized Targeting System and the poverty threshold issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority at the time of selection; have members who are aged zero to 18 years old, or have members who are pregnant at the time of registration; and willing to comply with the conditions specified by the law.

The Conditional Cash  Transfer grant per child enrolled in day- care and elementary programs shall not be lower than P300 per month per child for a maximum of 10 months per year.

Beneficiaries with children enrolled in junior high school, should receive Conditional Cash Transfer grant not be lower than P500 per month per child for a maximum of 10 months annually.

Meanwhile, those beneficiaries shall receive a  Conditional Cash Transfer grant not lower than P700 per month per child enrolled in senior high school.

Moreover, health and nutrition grant amounting to not less than P750 monthly for a maximum of 12 months per year.

The health/nutrition grant, which is a fixed grant, seeks to increase the use of health services by the household beneficiary.

DSWD shall also provide beneficiaries with direct and secured access to cash grants through any number of Authorized Government Depository Banks (ADGBs).

For localities not adequately served by an ADGB, the law stated that the DSWD may, by itself, or through an AGDB contract the services or rural banks, thrift banks, cooperative banks, and institutions engaged in money remittances duly accredited by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Every three years after the effectivity of the law, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies shall conduct an impact assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of 4Ps, the veracity of the list of household-beneficiaries and the program implementation.

The new law’s implementing rules and regulations are also expected to be promulgated within six months from effectivity by the DSWD secretary along with appropriate government departments and agencies, as well as with the participation of local government units.

The law shall take effect 15 days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in two newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.