Ed Gumban, PhilStar Life

Distribution of the first batch of cash aid intended for an initial 1.2 million Filipino households amid the rising costs of fuel and other commodities started Wednesday, the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) announced.

The subsidy under the Targeted Cash Transfer (TCT) program amounts to P500 per month for six months.

It will cover a total of 12.4 million households.

DSWD said the first tranche was aimed at the bottom 50% of beneficiaries, with P1,000 released for each household.

It includes those with existing cash cards and in the list of the government’s conditional cash transfer program known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). The first batch also includes some former recipients of the unconditional cash transfer program from 2018 to 2020.

There are also “2.4 million households in the database of Listahanan that fall within the first to fifth income decile, or other poverty data sources of the DSWD,” the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

The TCT program is anchored on Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, series of 2022, signed by the DSWD, the DoF, Department of Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority.

State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) is responsible for distributing the cash subsidy through various mediums, including cash cards, other banks, electronic money issuers, and remittance centers.

Inflation averaged 4.1% in the first five months of the year, exceeding the Philippine central bank’s 2%-4% target after quickening to a three-and-a-half-year high of 5.4% in May.

Pump prices of diesel, gasoline, and kerosene had gone up by P41.15, P28.70, and P37.95, respectively, from the start of the year to June 14. — Diego Gabriel C. Robles