GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 Aug) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 is targeting to enlist an additional 105,232 poor households in the region for the implementation of the expanded conditional cash transfer program.
Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said Tuesday the additional household-beneficiaries will comprise the region’s initial recipients for the expansion starting this year of the program’s educational grants.
She said they are currently finalizing the list of beneficiaries for the expanded educational grants of the initiative, which is also called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
“We already completed the validation of the target beneficiaries and we’re now working on their enrolment into the program,” Taha said.
The official said the target beneficiaries involved “poorest of the poor” households in the area with children aged 14 to 18.
DSWD-12 currently implements the initiative in the entire Region 12 and Marawi City in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Also known as Soccsksargen, the region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Taha said they have validated a total of 33,116 households in North Cotabato; 21,015 in Sultan Kudarat; 18,407 in South Cotabato; 15,961 in Sarangani; 5,489 in this city; 5,283 in Cotabato City; and, 5,961 in Marawi City.
She said these households included those that were previously delisted from the program as they no longer have children aged 14 and below.
“The reinstatement of households that were previously delisted will increase significantly the number of registered and active household beneficiaries in the region,” the official said.
4Ps is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to “poorest of the poor” households to improve their health, nutrition and education.
The program provides beneficiaries cash grants of P500 a month for health and nutrition expenses and P300 a month per child for educational expenses. A household with three qualified children could get P1,400 monthly.
It used to only cover households with children up to age 14 but was expanded up to age 18 starting this year to allow beneficiaries in the elementary level to continue their schooling until high school.
Taha said they are currently implementing the program in 1,287 barangays or 99.77 percent of its targeted 1,290 barangays in Region 12 and Marawi City.
“The three remaining barangays were not included because there were no poor households identified on those areas,” she said.
It specifically covers four provinces, 45 municipalities, six cities and eight congressional districts in the area, she said.
As of the first half of the year, Taha said the program has already served a total of 222,366 households or 74.65 percent of its targeted 297,862.
She said such target was based on the assessed number of qualified poor households in the area as a result of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction survey earlier conducted by the agency.
Taha added that they have also released a total of P1.095 billion in cash grants to the beneficiaries comprising P578.95 million in education and P516.17 million in health grants.