A lawmaker on Monday called for due diligence in the “delisting” of 1.3 million families from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), seeing the likely possibility to even add more to the list of beneficiaries.
In a privilege speech, Senior Deputy Minority Leader Paul R. Daza of Northern Samar supported the plan of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for validation of the 4Ps list but suggested use of newer estimates due to the pandemic.
“Any delisting must go through a process of reassessment and social case management as set forth in the law,” the lawmaker explained.
“I agree that it’s about time we do a thorough cleansing of the list. However, beneficiaries in 4Ps should not be reduced but instead increased due to an uptick in poverty incidence by 2.6 percent nationwide as caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Daza pointed out.
Citing the latest government estimates, Daza said poverty incidence in the Philippines increased to 23.7 percent in the first half of 2021 from 21.1 percent in the same period in 2018.
He said this means about 3.9 million more Filipinos are living in poverty.
Assuming 3.9 Filipinos need to be registered in 4Ps, Daza said then the country may be looking at an estimated 780,000 to a million families as new beneficiaries based on a 4- to 5-member household, saying this is close to the number of families being targeted for delisting.
Daza also asked DSWD to be meticulous in the updating process, as Republic Act 11310 requires rigorous steps in monitoring, validating, and updating the list of beneficiaries.
“The law also requires the setting up of a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee as well as an Independent Monitoring Committee to support the government in thorough monitoring of the program,” Daza added.
“It’s actually a good time to review the list since it’s also been three years from the law’s enactment. It’s provided for in the law,” he said.
Daza, meanwhile, pushed for the increase of grant from P2,000 to P3,000 due to inflation and the lingering effects of the pandemic and the monthly release of the payouts instead of every two months.
“Prices had been going up. It’s unfortunate that all countries are affected by the pandemic and then, recently, the war in Ukraine. More than ever, our poor need better social safety nets,” Daza added.
Meanwhile, Daza said many families are expected to graduate from the program already.
Based on DSWD’s report in 2021, he said 24,043 families graduated from the program from January 2020 to June 8, 2021.
“Graduating” means beneficiaries are already considered self-sufficient, have enough income at the time of graduation, able to cope with daily needs, and have achieved the first two levels of Social Worker Development Indicators (Survival and Subsistence levels), he said.
“But to be fair, what the government has undertaken and is still undertaking in this pandemic is remarkable. Many countries suffered worse; I think we need to give credit where its due. The Duterte administration’s approach, which we hope will be continued under Marcos leadership, is people-focused and astute,” Daza added.
Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas also questioned why the government is cutting 1.3 million beneficiaries from the 4Ps at a time when cash aid is crucial to provide immediate relief to poor families.