GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 12 October)– The national government has so far released a total of P1.83 billion in cash grants to beneficiaries of its flagship conditional cash transfer program in Region 12 and in Marawi City in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao since the start of the year.
Bai Zorahayda Taha, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 12 director, said the funds were received directly by 194,902 “poorest of the poor” households in the area that were covered by the government’s anti-poverty initiative Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
Of the P1.83 billion cash grants that were already released in the region, around P883.53 million went to the health and nutrition component and P945.89 million to the education component.
In Region 12, Taha said the program has already served 183,449 households in 1,190 barangays that were covered by the area’s 45 municipalities and five cities.
Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Cotabato, Kidapawan and Tacurong.
In Marawi City, which is part of DSWD-12’s expansion area for the 4Ps, she said the program has so far benefited 11,453 households coming from its 96 barangays.
“Our expansion is presently ongoing and we’re focusing on the enlistment of homeless households and other marginalized families,” Taha said.
The official was referring to the 8,000 families of “children in need of special protection” that were set for inclusion to the 4Ps in the area this year.
The new beneficiaries will specifically come from homeless families, families of child laborers, indigenous people’s migrant families, families of children with disabilities and families displaced by man-made and natural disasters, she 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 particularly of children aged 0-14 years.
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. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)