P5.9 billion allotted to Soccsksargen’s ‘poorest of the poor’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 17 Feb) – The national government has allotted P5.9 billion in financial assistance this year for the “poorest of the poor” families in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) that are covered by the conditional cash transfer program.

Cezario Joel Espejo, director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Region 12, said Wednesday the funds will cover for the monthly cash grants until December of the program’s 244,427 household-beneficiaries in the region, which included new 1,857 beneficiaries.

The new beneficiaries were among the households that qualified for the initiative, also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, based on the results of the “Listahanan” or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction survey.

He assured that the assistance will be received by the beneficiaries as scheduled despite the continuing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We have enough funds to cover for these grants. Our workers are now processing the first transfer for this year,” Espejo said.

Under the program, households with children enrolled in daycare and elementary levels will receive grants of P300 per child for a maximum of 10 months in a year.

Students or learners enrolled in junior high school were allotted P500 each while those in senior high school will get P700.

A health and nutrition grant of not lower than P750 per month covering the entire year will also be given to the beneficiaries.

Espejo reiterated that the program is not a “dole-out” as the beneficiaries need to comply with its conditions to qualify for the grants.

These are provided for Republic Act 11310, which institutionalized the 4Ps and provided for the additional subsidies, he said.

Espejo said all eligible children should be in school, mothers should get proper pre and post-natal care, children aged five years old and below should have regular preventive checkups while those aged 14 and below should undergo deworming.

The beneficiaries are also required to attend the monthly family development sessions in their communities, he said.

Espejo added that they have been conducting regular assessments of their database and the status of the beneficiaries to ensure that it will only cover those who are really qualified. (MindaNews)