Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda on Friday cited the need for investments in rural development and urban poor communities, saying the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and other individual and household-level interventions “are not sufficient conditions for lifting millions out of poverty.”
Salceda, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, made the statement following the release of a 62-page performance audit report on 4Ps posted on the COA website last week, which stated that about 90 percent of the active beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are still below the poverty threshold.
Salceda stressed the need for the government to “revisit and recalibrate the role of the 4Ps in the general poverty reduction strategy of government.”
The report noted that out of some 4.2 million active 4Ps beneficiaries who have been on the program for seven to 13 years, 90 percent or a total of 3,820,012 households, are still below the poverty threshold.
“Money alone is not enough. While it creates virtuous cycles in local economies, and while it provides a basic social safety net that allows poor households to take more rewarding risks, money is not enough. Money on an individual and household level is not enough,” Salceda said.
“The DSWD’s programs to protect families from the worst social and economic conditions were never meant to stand alone. They should always be part of a broader plan to revitalize urban and rural communities,” Salceda said.
“The aim should still be to create better conditions for farming, for working, and for entrepreneurship. That means investments in rural and urban development.”
Salceda suggested that a convergence plan between major programs of the DSWD and other government agencies towards lifting 4Ps beneficiaries out of poverty should be in place.
“I don’t think it’s the responsibility of the DSWD alone to meet the recommendations of the COA report when it clearly requires a whole of government approach.”
Salceda proposed that the DSWD and other government agencies issue a Joint Memorandum Circular on RA 11310 or the 4Ps Law, to contain the following interventions, aside from a review of the 4Ps’ role in the general poverty reduction strategy of government,
• Linking the programs of the members of the 4Ps Advisory Council, including the DSWD, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in a more systematic way, with the goal of having more members graduate;
• Include the CHED in Advisory Council meetings, and integrate completing tertiary education through scholarships in 4Ps graduation plans;
• Propose community investment, job creation, and infrastructure plans for areas with high concentrations of 4Ps beneficiaries.
“I commend Secretary Tulfo’s intent to respond to the COA report’s findings on the longstanding problems of 4Ps head on. The next step is to actually solve those problems, and it will require more than just the DSWD’s efforts,” Salceda said.