DSWD-12 gears for end of 4Ps

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/29 April) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 is working for the implementation of various support interventions in preparation for the conclusion of the national government’s conditional cash transfer program in three municipalities in the region.

Gemma Rivera, DSWD Region 12 assistant director, said Monday they are presently assisting the crafting of municipal transition plans to properly prepare the local governments and beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps once its support eventually ends.

She said the implementation of the 4Ps, which is part of the national government’s three-pronged anti-poverty strategy, will finally wind up in December in the towns of Maasim and Malapatan in Sarangani and on April 2014 in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

“This is to make sure that the local government units (LGUs) concerned will be able to sustain the program’s impact and help further improve the current socio-economic condition of the beneficiaries,” Rivera said in a statement.

The official said they initially held a series of consultations with officials of the three municipalities to discuss the details of the transition plans.

She said they are helping the LGUs come up with plans that would indicate or reflect efforts that will help sustain the program’s support and interventions.

“We need to ensure that there will be continuity in terms of support to the beneficiaries so they will not revert to their previous socio-economic status,” Rivera said.

She said the municipal transition plans will be integrated in an inter-agency plan that will help synchronize various poverty reduction efforts in the area.

Florentino Fiel, DSWD-12’s regional convergence coordinator, they helped the LGUs identify the strategic areas for interventions, focusing on participation and empowerment, economic opportunity, basic services and social protection.

He said drafting of the transition plans strategies involved municipal planning officers, municipal social welfare and development officers, health officers, education officials and local government operations officers.

“They initially identified some interventions according to the key action areas. These interventions are not necessarily new as some of them could be integrated in the existing programs of concerned LGUs,” Fiel said.

Ma. Luisa Busano, Maasim social welfare officer, said they have proposed for the implementation of a scholarship program for the college education of family members of the 4Ps household-beneficiaries.

“We have also included in our plan the conduct of capacity-building and skills training for 4Ps families, especially on income-generating skills,” she said.

For disaster risk preparedness and reduction, which is part of the social protection component, Busano said they have included the conduct of capacity-building activities on disaster management for the beneficiaries.

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.

In Region 12, the DSWD said the program presently covers a total of 202,851 “poorest of the poor” households. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)