MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Franklin Drilon has filed a bill seeking to institutionalize and expand the Pantawid Pampilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the flagship anti-poverty program of former president Benigno Aquino III.
In a statement on Saturday, July 2, Drilon said he filed Senate Bill No. 12 or the Philippine Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Act to quell fears that the program would be discontinued under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Under Senate Bill No 12, we expect at least a million and half Filipino families will join the present 4.4 million poor families who are being given economic assistance by the government through the CCT so that they can rise out of poverty and get better access to educational and health services,” Drilon said.
Apart from lifting millions of Filipino families out of poverty, the 4Ps also helped increase the enrollment rate of children 6 to 11 years old to 98%. (WATCH: It’s a wrap: Dinky Soliman’s report card at DSWD)
During the campaign period, Duterte vowed to continue the 4Ps but with an added livelihood component. New Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo had earlier said that she would review the program, while businessmen have asked the President to replace it with what they believed to be more effective state intervention to help the poor.
Senate Bill 12 seeks to turn the CCT into a permanent national government program. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would become the central body to plan, coordinate, implement, and monitor the program. (READ: Soliman confident Taguiwalo will continue DSWD’s anti-poverty gains)
The bill proposes that the DSWD coordinate with the Department of Education and the Department of Health with regard to the beneficiaries’ education and health services, for a more effective implementation of the program.
Drilon added that the proposed measure would address the needs of 1.5 million families identified as “near poor” under the DSWD’s National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction.
These are households with incomes just slightly above the poverty threshold.
“SBN 12 will also ensure steady funding for the CCT, as it will now regularly receive the necessary funds under the General Appropriation Act,” Drilon assured.
He noted that the program has a budget of around P63 billion this year. – Rappler.com