THE House of Representatives on Wednesday passed on third and final reading a measure institutionalizing the government’s cash transfer program, known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Voting 196-6, the chamber approved House Bill 7773, or the proposed 4Ps Act, which mandates cash transfers that will ensure that the poor keep their children in school and report for regular health checks, among other interventions thought to support development.
The law calls for cash-transfer coverage of up to 60% of extremely poor households, as determined by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Households eligible for the program will be selected through a standardized targeting system, administered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Participants will also be covered by the National Health Insurance Program.
Prior to the law mandating the cash transfers, the 4Ps originated as a flagship program under President Gloria M. Arroyo, a one-time secretary of social welfare.
Under the proposed law, qualified household-beneficiaries will be entitled to a P2,200 conditional cash transfer per month for the health and education expenses of a maximum of three children or a total of P26,400 per year. Beneficiaries are subject to revalidation every three years.
The cash transfers will be accessed through authorized government depository banks or in the case of other localities, through rural banks, thrift banks, cooperatives, and institutions accredited by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The proposed law also provides for loan assistance once a beneficiary completes skills training required by the bill.
Conditions for participation include regular preventive health checkups for children between zero and five years old; and deworming treatments at least twice a year for children between one and 18 years old.
At present, there six Senate Bills proposing to institutionalize the 4Ps, which remain pending at the committee level. — Charmaine A. Tadalan