The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) have started releasing the cash cards with Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) microchips to the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the second quarter of this year.

“To enable our beneficiaries to access their cash grants anytime and in a more cost efficient way, we are already shifting to cash cards. But since our foundational strategy is that of a rights-based approach,   we are also sensitive to how our Modified Conditional Cash Transfer beneficiaries  can be best served, if cash card use is not possible,” Director Gemma B. Gabuya, 4Ps National Program Manager, explained.

The shift to EMV card is in compliance with the memorandum of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to use microchip-based cards. An EMV card contains a microprocessor chip which creates a unique transaction code for each payment. This is now the global standard as it is deemed more secure compared to using magnetic strip-based cards that carry a fixed set of data used for all transactions.

“As of June 2019, LBP has processed 3.8 million EMV cash cards out of 4.4 million. Since the release of the cash card is simultaneous with the scheduled pay-out of cash grants, we hope to complete the production and distribution within the third quarter of this year,” Director Gabuya added.

4Ps is an investment in human capital which seeks to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by focusing on education and health of the beneficiaries. It uses the conditional cash transfer scheme to provide cash grants to the beneficiaries who comply with the program conditionalities such as children 3 to 18 years old must be enrolled in kindergarten, elementary, and high school, and attend classes at least 85% of the time each month; children 0-5 years old must receive regular preventive health check-ups, growth monitoring, and vaccines; pregnant women get pre and post-natal care (must be attended by skilled/professional health workers); children in elementary must receive de-worming pills twice a year; and attendance of the grantee/parent/guardian to the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS).

With the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 11310 which institutionalizes 4Ps, beneficiaries will receive an increase in grants in 2020 with the issuance of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). A compliant household may receive from P500 to P750 for health grant; P300 for each child enrolled in elementary, P500 for each child enrolled in high school, and P700 for each child in senior high school. A maximum of three children per household is entitled to receive the grant.  -30-