By CET DEMATERA
LEGAZPI CITY – Some 4,000 poor families in Albay received recently a monthly cash assistance of P1,400 each, or a total of P5.6 million, under the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which the Albay provincial government is implementing.
The beneficiaries of the government’s cash subsidies were residents of Daraga, Polangui and Libon towns who were earlier screened by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
One thousand families in Sto. Domingo town received the same cash assistance earlier this year. Another 1,000 from the three other towns will receive theirs on July 20.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said he would continue implementing the program, as the Aquino administration has already expressed interest in the pro-poor scheme.
“We are quite encouraged by the policy statement of the new President that this would be the only program of the past administration that he would continue,” he said.
Salceda said the program would enable Albay to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and help maintain health outcomes that were totally achieved in 2008.
“And this is backed up by the installation of one of President Aquino’s closest long-time advisers on social policy, Madam Dinky Soliman, at the helm of DSWD,” Salceda said.
The 4Ps started three years ago after the Philippines joined other countries in signing the MDGs, which target to reduce poverty, among other problems, by 2015.
Salceda expressed optimism that under the Aquino administration, the budget for 4Ps would be doubled from the present P15 billion to cover more beneficiaries.
The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a poverty reduction and social development strategy that provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14.
The cash assistance is aimed at alleviating the poor’s immediate need (short term poverty alleviation) and break the intergenerational poverty cycle through investments in human capital.
The program gives a household-beneficiary with 3 children, 0-14 years of age, a maximum of P1,400 a month or P15,000 annually as long as they comply with the conditionalities on health and education.
These conditionalities include: (1) pregnant women must avail of pre- and post-natal care and be attended to during childbirth by skilled attendant; (2) parents must attend responsible parenthood sessions; (3) 0-5 year-old children must receive regular preventive check-ups and vaccines; (4) 3-5 year-old children must attend day care or pre-school classes at least 85% of the time; (5) 6-14 year old must be enrolled in elementary and high school at least 85% of the time, and; (6) 0-5 year-old must receive deworming twice a year.
In Bicol, the 4Ps program is to be implemented in Albay with 180,000 household beneficiaries covering 15 towns namely: Polangui, Daraga, Libon, Jovellar, Pioduran, Rapurapu, Manito, Sto Domingo, Malilipot, Bacacay, Malinao including the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco, and Ligao.
In Masbate, with 50,000 beneficiaries in 15 towns: Esperanza, San Pascual, Kawayan, Placer, Claveria, Balud, Monreal, Uson, Mandaon, Aroroy, Milagros, Cataingan, Dimasalang, Mobo and Palanas.
In Camarines Sur, with 13 towns and a city: Pasacao, Siruma, Tinambac, Caramoan, Ragay, Del Gallego, Sagñay, Presentacion, Minalabac, Libmanan, Lupi, Bula, Pamplona, San Jose and Naga City with some 20,000 household beneficiaries.
In Camarines Norte, with five towns: Capalonga, Paracale, Sta Elena, San Lorenzo Ruiz and Mercedes, with 15,000 families.
In Sorsogon, with four towns: Donsol, Castilla, Matnog and Pilar with 10,000 families benefitting.
In the island province of Catanduanes, 4 Ps beneficiaries will come from the towns of Caramoran, Pandan and Bagamanoc.