DSWD mulls raise in grants under CCT program

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 September) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is studying the possibility of increasing the financial grants under the national government’s flagship conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in the wake of the rising prices of various commodities.

Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said the DSWD central office may adjust the monthly health and education grants of the program’s beneficiaries to help them cope with the increasing food prices.

She said the agency has yet to determine the exact figures as to the proposed increase in the cash grants that would likely be implemented next year.

“Prices of food products have swelled these past months so we’re working to address that,” Taha said in a statement.

DSWD-12 currently serves a total of 222,366 “poorest of the poor households” under the CCT program, which is also called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

The program is being implemented by DSWD-12 in 1,287 barangays in Region 12’s four provinces and five cities, and in Marawi City in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

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

The agency listed a total of 75,015 household-beneficiaries in North Cotabato; 43,079 in Sultan Kudarat; 40,261 in South Cotabato; 31,243 in Sarangani; 11,633 in Cotabato City; 11,620 in this city; and, 11,515 in Marawi City.

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.

The 4Ps only used to cover households with children up to age 14 but it was expanded up to age 18 starting this year to allow beneficiaries in the elementary level to continue their schooling until high school.

With the planned adjustments in the cash grants, Taha said they are monitoring closely the compliance of the beneficiaries to the program’s conditions.

She noted children of the beneficiaries should remain or stay in school and maintain a class attendance rate of 85 percent each month.

Pregnant women are also required to avail of pre and post-natal care while their delivery must be assisted by a skilled health worker, she said.

Taha said parents are also mandated to participate in family development sessions “to enable them to become better parents.”

“We are investing in the future of children by giving assistance to poor households, so they can continue sending them to school and provide proper health care and nutrition,” she added. (MindaNews)