By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan
THE WORLD BANK (WB) said the Philippine government needs to modernize the database on poor Filipinos qualified to receive social protection programs and speed up its response to their needs.
“To stay relevant, Listahanan operations need to catch up with technological innovations to adapt to the increasing need for faster response. After two rounds of implementation, the Listahanan system is mature enough to undergo big and necessary changes in order to adapt to the changing needs of the clients it serves,” the World Bank said in a policy note.
The Listahanan is a national household targeting system created by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2007 that identifies poor Filipinos who avail themselves of government social assistance programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program conditional cash transfer and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s universal health care program.
WB noted that more government agencies have been using the Listahanan to reach the poorest communities in new social development projects.
“This, in turn, increases the demand for better and faster updating of the Listahanan registry. The system has to adapt to the need for more dynamic information, wider use of computer-assisted or mobile-based technologies for faster data collection and processing, more secure data storage and sharing facilities and protocols that balance protecting information and faster sharing in times of actual need,” the Washington-based multilateral lender said.
“In addition, the Listahanan has to start planning to link up with the Philippines national identification system, which is another new and big reform that is expected to drive big changes in the landscape of service delivery in the country,” the policy note read.
However, the lender described the program as “a story of success,” adding that “multiple programs have been introduced over many decades across various agencies and programs but none has been as effective as when the Listahanan was introduced.”
Moreover, the World Bank said in a separate implementation status and results report that the Philippines National Community Driven Development Program has already achieved some key performance indicators.
The projects seeks to “empower communities in targeted municipalities to achieve improved access to services and to participate in more inclusive local planning, budgeting and implementation.”
It provides planning grants to the community, investment grants to support local projects such as roads, bridges, schools, day care centers, and capacity building support for municipal local government units, and facilitate the overall implementation of the projects
The report said that the access and utilization of major investments in covered municipalities have reached an average of 8% across different community sub-projects, near the 10% target.
It also said that the participation of households in the barangay level is at 80%, exceeding the 70% target.
“The Project continued to make progress in achieving its development objectives.”
The project provides a $479-million loan, and 83% or $399.22 million has already been disbursed.