Press Release
February 4, 2019

Senate approves institutionalization of 4Ps program

The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to institutionalize the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps) as a regular poverty reduction program of the government for poor Filipino families.

Sponsored and authored by Sen. Leila De Lima, chair of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Development Senate Bill No. 2117 was approved with 18 votes, zero negative vote and no abstention.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, as vice chairman of De Lima's committee, sponsored the measure on the floor on her behalf.

"Cutting the cycle of poverty of and giving the poor the ability to improve their lives through the 4Ps program will enable them to contribute to the development of our country," De Lima said. Trillanes, for his part, said that the measure is geared towards helping the poor to be self-sufficient through sustained income and livelihood opportunities.

"The 4Ps Act can be a transformative program that will improve the lives of not only the 4.4 million beneficiaries across the country it currently serves, but the remaining fraction of poor families we wish to be covered in the coming years," Trillanes said.

Considered as a national poverty reduction strategy and a human capital investment program, the 4Ps provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years to improve their health, nutrition and access to education.

Under the measure, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall conduct and revalidate qualified beneficiaries using a standard targeting system every three years. Considered eligible for the program are those living in the informal sector, homeless families, indigenous peoples, amd those living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

All beneficiaries shall also be automatically covered in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

The measure also establishes a regional and national advisory council headed by the DSWD which shall be tasked to determine the amount of conditional cash transfer each beneficiary may be granted, such as increasing the health and nutrition benefits of qualified beneficiaries from P600 to 750 every month to compensate the rising prices of rice and other basic health and nutrition needs of the poor, and increasing the conditional cash transfer grant per child enrolled in day care from P500 to P700 per month for a maximum of ten months per year.

In addition, qualified beneficiaries may avail of livelihood programs offered by the DSWD, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and other government agencies or accredited private institutions.

The regional and national advisory councils shall also have, as additional members, two (2) representatives from accredited non-government organizations working or monitoring social welfare programs.

To ensure compliance to the program, the measure states that beneficiaries shall comply with the certian conditions: 1) Pregnant women must avail of pre-natal services, give birth in a health facility attended by a skilled health professional, and receive after-care for her and her newborn; 2) Children from zero to five years old must receive regular health and nutrition sevices including check-ups and vaccinations; 3) Children one to 14 years old must avail of deworming pills at least twice a year; 4) Children three to 4 years old must attend day care or pre-school classes at least 85% of the time, while children 5 to 18 years old must attend elementary or secondary classes at least 85% of the time; and 5) at least one responsible person must attend development sessions conducted by the DSWD at least once a month.

Failure to comply with the conditions listed in the measure even after having been notified in writing shall cause the immediate termination of cash grants to the beneficiary, whose household will be subject to an assessment process by the DSWD. If, after one year, the household beneficiary is still non-compliant, he or she shall be removed from the program.

"It needs to be emphasized that 4Ps is NOT a "dole-out program". It does not hand out cash only for the sake of giving money to the beneficiaries. From the term itself, Conditional Cash Transfer refers to the transfer of cash and continued utilization thereof is conditioned upon compliance with the requirements of the program," Trillanes said.

Apart from De Lima, SB 2117 was also authored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Juan Eduardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar and Nancy Binay.

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