DSWD eyes lifting moratorium on 4Ps application before Christmas

Patty Pasion
DSWD eyes lifting moratorium on 4Ps application before Christmas
Once the moratorium is lifted, around 48,000 additional families may be accepted into the anti-poverty program

MANILA, Philippines – After more than a year, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is expected to lift the moratorium on accepting new applications for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) before Christmas.

Social Welfare Undersecretary Malou Turalde-Jarabe told lawmakers on Tuesday, December 5, that they made the request as early as September and are now waiting for the approval of DSWD officer-in-charge Undersecretary Emmanuel Leyco.

Turalde-Jarabe was at the hearing of the House poverty alleviation committee on the institutionalization of 4Ps.

The suspension of new applications has been in place since July 2016 when then-Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo ordered a review of the government’s flagship anti-poverty program.

Turalde-Jarabe said that to date, there are already 250,000 pending 4Ps applications. But once registration resumes, only 48,000 households may be accepted because the proposed 2018 budget has an allocation for only 4.4 million beneficiaries.

So far, the total number of eligible 4Ps beneficiaries stands at 4,352,367.

Despite the request to proceed with the registration of new beneficiaries, Turalde-Jarabe said the review of the program will continue along with their efforts to fix the implementation system.

The House panel also approved Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus’ resolution that allows lawmakers to conduct an on-site review of 4Ps implementation in one province each in Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

“The public knows that even the Commission on Audit (COA) recommended [that we] fix our system before we can accept new beneficiaries,” said Turalde-Jarabe. 

COA found in its performance audit report released in November that 30% of the total number of program beneficiaries were already above the poverty threshold. State auditors also spotted inefficiencies of the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) prior to the report.

DSWD funds are given to beneficiaries primarily through state-owned Landbank but delays in payout have been a perennial problem.

According to Turalde-Jarabe, they are now coordinating with other authorized government depository banks to check if they can provide services for the 4Ps payout.

“We are pilot testing with authorized government depository banks. We have spoken with the Philippine Veterans Bank and there will be a test in Abra from December 11 to 16… In Basulta (Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi), we are speaking with UCPB (United Coconut Planters Bank),” she said.

“We are going to give Landbank competition,” she added. – Rappler.com

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.