To sustain support for indigent Filipino households, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) last week urged local government units (LGUs) to enact a Social Protection ordinance complementing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), including post-program interventions for ‘exited’ or ‘graduated’ 4Ps households.
The 4Ps, the national poverty reduction strategy of the government under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that social protection does not end after a household “exits” the 4Ps program, hence “LGUs must guarantee that a social support package is in place to aid these families.” He said enacting an ordinance to complement 4Ps will ensure that they are alleviated from poverty and remain non-poor even after the prescribed maximum period for the conditional cash grant.
“We do not want the graduated 4Ps households to go back to square one. We, therefore, urge LGUs and their Sanggunians to acknowledge that support for these families go beyond 4Ps through the enactment of a social protection ordinance providing social protection services for them and other 4Ps households,” Año said.
A 4Ps household beneficiary is qualified to exit the Pantawid program when: the last monitored child in the household reaches 19 years old or finishes high school; the household reaches the seven-year duration of the program; the household is no longer poor based on latest assessment thru the adopted standardized targeting system; the household voluntarily waives its membership from the program; or, the household commits offenses identified by DSWD, wherein sanction is delisting.
The 4Ps utilizes the Pantawid-Kilos-Unlad Social Case Management Strategy, a process to guide the shepherding of 4Ps households to achieve improved well-being towards stepping up (from survival to subsistence to self-sufficiency level) and out of poverty (program exit) within a seven-year operational period.
Año said a comprehensive local Social Protection ordinance complementing the 4Ps program shall institutionalize a more sustainable social protection program for indigent Filipinos “ensuring that they are assisted both by the national and local governments even after exiting the Pantawid Pamilya program.”
The DILG and the DSWD recently signed Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2022-001 providing the guidelines in support of 4Ps, following the implementation of full devolution to LGUs this year pursuant to Executive Order (EO) No. 38 signed by President Duterte.
Under the DILG-DSWD JMC, LGUs with identified 4Ps beneficiaries are encouraged to include 4Ps-related programs and activities in the LGUs’ Annual Investment Program, Comprehensive Development Plan, and/or Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan; provision of appropriate programs, services, and interventions to vulnerable groups and sector within the 4Ps; assist in the assessment and ensure resolution of program concerns in coordination with the Pantawid Pamilya workforce; and, facilitate and address the identified supply-side gaps and concerns for health, nutrition, and education to enable beneficiaries to sustain the gains of the program, among others.
4Ps and full devolution
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that with the full devolution of certain functions to LGUs as provided for in EO 38 and the substantial increase in LGU shares from national taxes as mandated by the Mandanas-Garcia Supreme Court ruling, LGUs are empowered to provide basic services, such as social protection services, to their constituents.
“LGUs are now in the best position to lift their constituents out of poverty through 4Ps and other social protection services and programs. They now have all the tools and resources to break the vicious cycle of poverty in their localities,” he said.
Malaya said LGUs should prioritize support and funding for pro-poor programs such as 4Ps in their localities as they play a crucial role in alleviating hunger and poverty in the country.
“Hinihimok natin ang ating LGUs na suportahan at ipagpatuloy ang nasimulan natin sa Pantawid program. With the 4Ps, LGUs can lend a much-needed hand to poor households in improving their lives in the aspects of health, nutrition and education,” he said.