New law institutionalizes 4Ps

Pia Ranada
New law institutionalizes 4Ps
The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which gives poor households cash grants if they meet certain conditions, will now be implemented by every administration

MANILA, Philippines – With President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps is now a permanent program of government requiring regular appropriations from the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11310 or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Act on April 17, but the law was made public only on Wednesday, May 22.

4Ps is a national poverty reduction program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum of 7 years “to improve the health, nutrition, and education aspect of their lives.”

It was introduced during the administration of Gloria Macagapal Arroyo and was continued by Benigno Aquino III, who turned 4Ps into his administration’s flagship anti-poverty program. With the new law, the 4Ps will be implemented every year, under all future presidents, unless it is repealed.

The DSWD is the lead agency in implementing 4Ps.

The conditional cash transfer schemes are as follows:

  • At least P300 per child per month enrolled in day care and elementary programs for a maximum of 10 months per year
  • At least P500 per child per month enrolled in junior high school for a maximum of 10 months per year
  • At least P700 per child per month enrolled in senior high school for a maximum of 10 months per year
  • P750 health and nutrition grant per month for a maximum of one year

Also, all 4Ps beneficiaries will be automatically covered by the National Health Insurance Program. The funds for their coverage will be sourced from the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012.

Beneficiaries should be able to get their cash grants through government banks tapped by the DSWD or through rural banks, thrift banks, cooperative banks, and money remittance institutions accredited by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Eligibility, conditions to stay in program

The DSWD will choose household beneficiaries using a standardized targeting system. The system should cover farmers, fisherfolks, homeless families, indigenous peoples, those in the informal settler sector, those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, and areas without electricity. 

To be eligible for the cash grants, households must fulfill the following criteria:

  • 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 0 to 18 years old or have members who are pregnant at the time of registration
  • Willing to comply with conditions specified in the law

To stay in the program, 4Ps beneficiaries must also fulfill conditions designed to ensure the cash grants are being used to improve their lives.

  • Pregnant women must avail of prenatal services, give birth in a health facility attended to by a skilled health professional, and receive post-partum and post-natal care for them and their newborns
  • Children from 0 to 5 years old must receive regular preventive health and nutrition services including checkups and vaccinations
  • Children 1 to 14 years old must avail of deworming pills at least twice a year
  • Children 3 to 4 years old must attend day care or preschool classes at least 85% of their time
  • Children 5 to 18 years old must attend elementary or secondary classes at least 85% of their time
  • At least one responsible person must attend development sessions conducted by the DSWD at least once a month.

These conditions may be suspended by the DSWD secretary during times of calamities, war, and armed conflict.

A household beneficiary that fails to comply with the conditions above will stop receiving cash grants. They will receive a written notification. After 4 months of noncompliance, the household will be subject to DSWD’s case management process.

Noncompliance for a year after the household beneficiary receives the written notification will mean their removal from the program.

Authors, sponsors

The Senate bill that led to this law, Senate Bill (SB) No. 2117, was sponsored and co-authored by Senator Leila de Lima, the President’s fierce critic, while in jail over drug charges initiated by the administration.

SB 2117 was also authored by senators Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar, and Nancy Binay.

In the House, House Bill No. 7773 was sponsored by representatives Raymond Democrito Mendoza, Karlo Nograles, Rufino Biazon, Miro Quimbo, Alfred Vargas, Micaela Violago, Horacio Suansing, Estrellita Suansing, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Ferdinand Hernandez, Jose Christopher Belmonte, Victor Yap, Frednil Castro, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Arthur Yap, Angelina DL Tan MD, Salvio Fortuno, Winnie Castelo, Raul Tupas, Bellaflor Angara Castillo, Maximo Rodriguez Jr, Vilma Santos Recto, Gus Tambunting, Enrico Pineda, Michael Odylon Romero, Shernee Abubakar Tan, Roger Mercado, Kaka Bag-ao, Gabriel Bordado Jr, Lianda Bolilia, Eric Olivarez, and Tom Villarin. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.