1.8M 4Ps beneficiaries receive P2,400 each to offset effects of tax reform

Aika Rey

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1.8M 4Ps beneficiaries receive P2,400 each to offset effects of tax reform
Under the DSWD's unconditional cash transfer program, a beneficiary receives P200 per month in 2018. The subsidy will increase in the next two years.

MANILA, Philippines – Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries each received as much as P2,400 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under a program that seek to offset the effects of the tax reform law.

On Monday, March 5, some P4.3 billion was released to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) for 1.8 million 4Ps beneficiaries with existing LBP cash cards.

“Tax reforms have caused economic shocks among the ranks of the poor, and this was foreseen…. Knowing that the poor will be most affected, DSWD lost no time in putting together the implementing guidelines of the UCT (unconditional cash transfer) so that the cash grants can be provided as soon as possible,” DSWD OIC Secretary Emmanuel Leyco said.

The UCT is a program of the DSWD to shield the poorest families from the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law.

For 2018, each beneficiary will receive P200 per month. In 2019 and 2020, the subsidy will increase to P300 monthly.

The LBP released cash grants to almost 420,000 beneficiaries from Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

For the rest of the regions, subsidies will be downloaded to their cash cards on Tuesday, March 6.

Meanwhile, 2.6 million 4Ps beneficiaries without cash cards will receive their subsidies within March, according to the budget department.

The UCT is on top of 4Ps beneficiaries’ regular cash grant and P600 rice subsidy from the program.

The recently implemented Train Law will increase taxpayers’ take-home pay for most employees, but it would also lead to pricier cars, fuel, tobacco, and sugar-sweetened beverages. This, in turn, is expected to lead to higher transportation fares, prices of basic commodities, and power rates. (READ: [OPINION] Train Law: What does it change?)

Consumers have lamented that the increase in their earnings would only go to the additional cost of goods and services.

Progressive groups stressed that the 15.6 million informal sector workers and 2.4 million unemployed Filipinos are the most affected by the tax reform law.

Meanwhile, an expert said the P200 monthly subsidy by the DSWD is not enough to offset the effects of Train, as high inflation rate is seen to continue in the next two months.  Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.