Responding to questions on the impact of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program posed yesterday during the Finance Committee hearing for the proposed budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for 2015, Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the program is not meant as a poverty reduction effort that will be felt immediately by the poor.
“It is an investment in human capital for the children of the poor to have a fighting chance to be part of inclusive growth,” Sec. Soliman further explained.
Pantawid Pamilya provides monthly cash grants of P500 for health and P300 per child in elementary or P500 per child in high school with a maximum of three qualified children per household for their educational and nutritional needs. They have to comply to program conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health center for check-ups, and attending Family Development Sessions (FDS).
The goal of the program is to send children to school and for them to finish high school to give them a greater chance of getting employed, thus, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty in their clans.
“The investment in the children’s education would only be fully felt ten years from since the program started, when the children have graduated and have been gainfully employed,” Sec. Soliman said.
The investment in health, on the other hand, would ensure that children are healthy and capable of finishing their studies.
Sec. Soliman stressed that Pantawid Pamilya is contributory to poverty reduction but is not the lone solution.
“We are also providing entrepreneurial support to beneficiaries through capital assistance and capability building as an exit strategy to prepare them to start their own sources of livelihood after the program,” Sec. Soliman said.
Explaining the 11 % increase in the overhead costs of the program, Sec. Soliman said that some P8.5 billion is being proposed to pay the salaries of contractual employees who will facilitate FDS and manage special cases that local DSWD offices would be unable to perform.
It will also cover a study to assess the impact of the program.
The amount is P3.5 billion higher than last year’s P5 billion overhead cost.
Sec. Soliman said that the CCT budget of P64.7 billion is at its peak in 2015 and 2016 as the Department moves toward achieving its 5.3 million target beneficiaries.
The Secretary, however, disclosed that after the Aquino Administration, the budget will slowly taper off as some 25,000 beneficiaries are expected to exit from the program next year.
To date, there are 4,332,411 households enrolled in the program. ###