For generations, poverty takes an incredible toll on Filipinos and has been a problem ever since. Many people suffer, starting from their kids to adults trying to survive each day without guarantee of what might happen tomorrow. Most of them can’t afford a meal three times a day, an education, and even health check-ups.
This is the reason why Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was born.
It is a program created by the national government under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, focusing on health, nutrition, and education of children with ages ranging from 0 to 18 years old to assist the families who are in dire need of help to solve the intergenerational cycle of poverty – the state of the parents’ lives being passed on to their children and generations to come.
4Ps was patterned from the conditional cash transfer scheme of countries like Latin America and Africa to battle poverty and other problems, where families will receive cash grants if they follow the given conditions by the government.
In 2007, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo first tested this program to 4,589 families from the six of the poorest cities and municipalities under the supervision of Former DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral. The following year, 4Ps was officially launched, serving 320,000 households in 160 municipalities of 27 provinces in six regions.
President Benigno Aquino III continued and widened the scope of 4Ps in 2010 to run in all 17 regions of the country catering up to 79 provinces, 143 cities, and 1,484 municipalities. It reached 4.4 million beneficiaries last 2016.
More so, 4Ps contains another program called Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) that serves Families in Need of Special Protection, which includes families living on the streets, indigenous families with no permanent home, families with a person with disability (PWD), families affected by natural and man-made disasters, child laborers, children in problem with the law, families that have a member with an incurable disease or victim of human trafficking to break any barrier that these families need in order to be a part this project.
The beneficiaries of 4Ps are decided through a system called “Listahan” made by the DSWD that uses a National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) to identify the poorest of the poor families that have children ranging from 0 to 18 years old and/or has a pregnant member of a household when the evaluation was made.
In order for a family to qualify in this program, they must meet the following criteria: (1) they must be a resident of the poorest municipalities that was based on the National Statistical Coordination Board’s 2003 Small Area Estimates (SAE); (2) families who have economic condition equal to or below the provincial poverty threshold – minimum income that is needed to meet the basic necessities of a family like food, clothing, education, etc.; (3) families with children that have ages from 0 to18 years and/or a pregnant woman when the assessment was made; (4) families who agreed to follow the set conditions in the program.
When the evaluation is done, DSWD workers will post a list of qualified households in every community for them to see and will set a community assembly so the chosen families can be validated and recorded as beneficiaries. However, they must first sign a contract agreeing that they will comply with the conditions given to them before they receive the cash grants from the government.
4Ps only covers up to three children per family. The parents can choose which of their children can be the beneficiary of this program.
With a goal that someday these beneficiaries will become “independent and self-reliant” as per President Rodrigo Duterte during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2016, conditions were imposed on 4Ps to prevent the beneficiaries being dependent on the program. These are as follows: (1) Children from three to 18 years old must be enrolled in a school and needs to have an attendance no lower than 85% of classes every month; (2) Children covered by 4Ps need to have regular health check-ups where those who ages from zero to five years old must be vaccinated, and those who ages from six to 14 years old should be dewormed twice a year. The weight of the children will also be monitored and if there is pregnant member of the family, she needs to have a pre and post natal care and have their baby be delivered by a doctor; (3) Any of the parents needs to attend the monthly family development sessions organized by the DSWD where they will be taught on how to be responsible parents, learn on how to take care of their children’s health and nutrition, and even become active citizens.
Families who complied with these conditions shall be given cash grants every month. Each household will receive P500.00 for their health grant and P300.00 for their pre-school and elementary children while P500.00 is for their high school children for their education. These cash grants can be withdrawn through Land Bank of the Philippines, Globe G-Cash remittance, and rural bank transactions.
Education grants shall be given only in 10 school months per school year.
In addition, President Rodrigo Duterte stated in his first SONA that the 4Ps beneficiaries will also receive rice subsidies every month.
A family can be a 4Ps beneficiary until the last of their three children finishes high school or turns 18, whichever comes first.
In more than a decade, 4Ps already helped a lot of families in our country. It created a lot of opportunities where a family will no longer shoulder the expenses of their children’s education and health expenses. But the government’s assistance will be for nothing if a family will be dependent on what they are given. They should also make an effort and help the government achieve the goals of this program.
For more information about 4Ps, visit this website: pantawid.dswd.gov.ph