Where in the PH are the Pantawid beneficiaries?

Jodesz Gavilan
The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is the Aquino administration's flagship poverty alleviation program and covers more than 4,400,000 Filipino households in 2015

ENDING POVERTY. The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development is the flagship social protection program of the Aquino government.

MANILA, Philippines – The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is deemed the flagship program of the Aquino administration against poverty – but it has not been without criticism.

The 4Ps – otherwise called the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) – provides cash grants to the poorest of the poor in the Philippines to relieve them of the problems brought about by their socioeconomic status.

A household-beneficiary with 3 children may receive P1,400 ($30)* a month or P15,000 ($331) a year. These are expected to be used to relieve themselves of problems related to their socioeconomic status: poor health, malnutrition, and lack of education, among others.

Since it started in 2008, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-led social protection program continued to be under scrutiny mainly because of the annual huge budget allocations and the alleged flaws in the roster of beneficiaries.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, however, maintained that the “full effect” of 4Ps can be seen in the long-run. (READ: Soliman: Anti-poverty program takes time)

Soliman gave assurances the department has worked to purge the list of beneficiaries and improved its targeting to cover those who fit their requirements. (READ: Soliman: DSWD is keeping 4Ps database clean)

Aside from being identified by the DSWD’s targeting system as poor, household-beneficiaries should have children aged 0 to 14 years old or be a pregnant member during registration.

Data from the 2015 program portfolio of 4Ps show there are more than 4,400,000 targeted beneficiaries scattered across the Philippines. These beneficiaries are divided into two categories: the household beneficiaries of the regular CCT and beneficiaries of the Modified CCT. 

Regular CCT Beneficiaries 4,309,769
Modified CCT Beneficiaries 126,963
Total 4,436,732

Below is the map of the distribution of 4Ps beneficiaries in 2015. The darker the gradient, the more beneficiaries in a specific province. Click on specific provinces to view the specific population of people enrolled in its social protection program. 

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has the most number of 4Ps targeted beneficiaries with 44,8757. Maguindanao, a province that has been laden with conflict for years, is also the province with the most number of families enrolled in the program.

The top 25 provinces with most number of beneficiaries are:

Maguindanao (together with Cotabato City) 200,537
Zamboanga del Sur 140,804
Cebu 129,986
Pangasinan 124,410

Negros Occidental 124,100
Camarines Sur 117,730
Leyte 113,385
Zamboanga del Norte 110,790
Sulu 107,368
Quezon 101,020
Iloilo 101,020
Lanao del Sur 99,269
Batangas 89,806
Nueva Ecija 89,281
Cotabato (North Cotabato) 83,392
Bukidnon 81,895
Masbate 81,615
Albay 80,747
Misamis Oriental 78,211
Palawan 77,297
Negros Oriental 71,537
Lanao del Norte 70,394
Bulacan 67,678
South Cotabato 65,831
Sorsogon 62,504

Twenty out of the top 25 provinces with the highest number of targeted beneficiaries are included in the list of priority areas identified by the Aquino government in its latest memorandum under Aquino’s Social Contract.

These priority areas were based on data from the DSWD and the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) using two indicators: high poverty magnitude and high poverty incidence.

The remaining 5 priority areas with low 4Ps beneficiaries – compared to other provinces – were included due to individual context: Davao del Sur is the highest in Region XI, Eastern Samar was affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), and Apayao, Camiguin, and Sarangani are included in the 2014 list of poorest provinces in the Philippines.

The road to ‘clean database’

The 2015 breakdown shows that the DSWD has targeted its beneficiaries based on need, effectively locating the areas where high magnitude and incidence of poverty have been reported.

This is just among the results of the department’s continued enforcement of means to maintain a “clean database” for the 4Ps.

The National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) is also an effective mechanism. The system makes data available to national government agencies and related sectors to properly and accurately identify possible beneficiaries of various social protection programs – including 4Ps.

NHTS-PR aims to properly screen beneficiaries who are truly in need of government support to end poverty.

Another measure implemented by the DSWD is the Grievance Redress System (GRS). This system collates complaints directed to the program or to beneficiaries. The system alone has delisted more than 77,000 beneficiaries. 

They were delisted because of the following reasons: they did not follow the required tasks set by the department – such as regular health consultations, pre- and post-pregnancy care for mothers – and failed to encourage their children to attend school for a minimum number of times. 

As Aquino’s administration comes to a close, Soliman said on Rappler Talk that people now have a benchmark of what works against poverty.

“You have a government that is accountable, that’s transparent, that has shown budget reform, that has allocated significant amounts of funds for social service, for infrastructure, that had really been felt and seen by the people,” she explained. “Now, the people have to judge all those who are going to say, ‘I’m going to continue this.’” – Rappler.com

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.