74,000 families in R-12 get cash from 4Ps

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 July) – The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, the national government’s flagship anti-poverty initiative, has benefited 138,724 poor residents in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao in the last three years.

Bai Zorahayda Taha, Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 12 director said Wednesday the program has continually expanded since it was first launched late 2008 and is now providing cash grants through its conditional cash transfer scheme to 74,572 families in the area.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Citing President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s statements during his second State of the Nation Address or SONA last month, Taha said they will continue with the program’s expansion this year to accommodate more of the region’s “poorest of the poor” residents.

“The President has committed additional funds for the program and gave assurance that its implementation would be sustained,” she said.

In Region 12, Taha said 4Ps is being implemented in 32 municipalities and two cities as part of the national government’s three-pronged anti-poverty convergence strategy.

The 4Ps, Kalahi-CIDSS and the SEA-K livelihood program form part of the national government’s convergence strategy.

Kalahi-CIDSS stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, a World Bank-assisted poverty alleviation project implemented since 2003 by the DSWD.

SEA-K is a credit access and entrepreneurial development program for women also implemented by the DSWD in rural and marginalized areas of the country.

4Ps is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14 years.

It is one of the responses of the Philippine government to the challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

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.

Under the 4Ps program, Taha said they have so far released P646.598 million cash grants to its beneficiaries in the region.

She said additional cash grants are slated for release within the next few weeks to beneficiaries in the municipalities of Lebak and President Quirino in Sultan Kudarat, Banga in South Cotabato and Tulunan in North Cotabato.

Taha said the four municipalities were included in the program’s implementation this year following their adoption as 4Ps expansion areas. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)