The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) emphasizes that Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is on track with its objectives of sending children to school and keeping them healthy, amid the issue raised by Ibon Foundation that the audit findings on program funds prove that it is ineffective.
DSWD explains that 4Ps is part of the governments’s solution to poverty. It is an investment in human capital which aims to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by focusing on the education and health of the beneficiaries.
The Department also reiterates that it continues to work with the Commission on Audit (COA) to resolve the issues of unliquidated funds and duplicate accounts.
To date, liquidation of the funds is ongoing while the validation of duplicate accounts has been undertaken. These actions have already been communicated to COA through a letter signed by DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista in April and during an exit conference in May 2019, respectively.
Since its inception in 2008, 4Ps has achieved several milestones in the areas of poverty reduction, health, and education.
The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), in its launch of the 2015 Official Poverty Statistics said, “One of the major factors in this improvement of poverty reduction is the increased budget in government’s social development programs, which significantly augmented the income of the poorest households […] The regularity of the cash transfer sustained for three years for many CCT beneficiaries has accorded them some resiliency to weather certain shocks. The program also induced more economic activity in the poor barangays given the presence of a cash economy. These conditions may have also encouraged a number of them to diversify their livelihood sources.”
Moreover, in its 2017 Socio-Economic Report, NEDA stated that, “By far, the most comprehensive program to address […] vulnerability is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). This program needs to be sustained and even enhanced.”
Furthermore, the World Bank in its 2018 assessment of poverty in the Philippines (Making Growth Work for the Poor) reported that “transfers from government social programs [CCT] contributed about 25 percent of the [reduction in poverty incidence between 2006 and 2015.”]
Likewise, impact evaluations on the program done and completed in 2012 and 2014 showed that the program can break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, helping poor families escape the poverty trap of being poor because they have no decent jobs or undereducated and sickly.
Based on the two impact studies, the program had positive effects on education and health of children and pregnant women.
The studies showed that program beneficiaries have higher enrolment and attendance rates and lower drop-outs as compared to non-beneficiaries.
As regards health, children-beneficiaries have increased availment of basic health services and reduced severe stunting especially to children from 6 months to 3 years old.
The impact studies also showed that more pregnant women availed of maternal health services and an increased delivery in accredited birthing facilities, as compared to those who are not covered by the program.
Meanwhile, since 2015, the program has paved the way for almost 1 million children-beneficiaries to complete high school and more than 30,000 to graduate from college.
As of March 31, 2019, the program covers 41,552 barangays in all 145 cities and 1,483 municipalities in 80 provinces nationwide with 4.18 million active households. -30-