HOMELESS Filipinos are seen awaiting their turn to get free food at T.M. Kalaw in Manila. — PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

TWO congressmen have filed a resolution urging the government to increase the conditional cash grants given to poor families amid spiraling food prices.

The cash given to these families under the so-called 4Ps program might not be enough anymore to break the cycle of poverty given rising inflation and the continuing threat of the coronavirus pandemic and other health emergencies such as monkeypox, Party-list Representatives Marcelino C. Libanan and Jonathan Clement M. Abalos II said in House Resolution 184.

They also cited the effects of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine and natural disasters.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, also known as 4Ps, is a conditional cash transfer program of the Philippine government under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

It seeks to eradicate extreme poverty in the Philippines by investing in health and education particularly in Filipinos aged 18 and younger. The program seeks to “break the intergenerational cycle of poverty” though investment in human capital and improved delivery of services to the poor, particularly in education, health and nutrition and early childhood care.

The lawmakers said DSWD’s poverty registry has become a critical tool in administering social protection programs, including one that provided emergency subsidies to about 18 million Filipinos at the start of a coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Mr. Libanan and Mr. Abalos said the law mandates the National Advisory Council to determine the amount of conditional cash aid to beneficiaries and ensure that the grants would make a positive impact on their health, nutrition and education.

Poor families increased to 23.7 million in 2021 from 21.1 million in 2018, they said, citing data from the local statistics agency. Philippine inflation also rose to 6.1% in June, the quickest since October 2018.

“The current trend of inflation is expected to continue due to various factors,” they added. — NPA