Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has appealed to her colleagues in the Senate to pass the measure institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to ensure financial assistance for qualified and deserving indigent Filipino families.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said she hopes that her fellow senators will give priority to Senate Bill (SB) No. 2117 which is now on the period of plenary debate.
“I am pleased that Senate Bill No. 2117, which seeks to institutionalize the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as one of the anti-poverty programs of the national government, is now in the final stages of getting enacted into law, and I therefore urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass it without delay,” she said.
Deemed as a national poverty reduction strategy and a human capital investment program, the 4Ps provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years, to improve their health, nutrition and access to education.
Apart from De Lima, SB 2117 was also authored by Senators Franklin Drilon, Loren Legarda, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Juan Eduardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar, and Nancy Binay.
The measure was sponsored on the floor by Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV who was designated by Sen. De Lima as the Committee’s Vice Chair for purposes of tackling several bills.
Last Jan. 21, some members of the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilyang Pantawid (SNPP) trooped to the Senate to call on the senators to pass SB No. 2117 as they also thanked De Lima for pushing for the swift passage of the measure.
Susana Noche, a member of SNPP and beneficiary of 4Ps from Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, shared how the 4Ps allowed her to send her children to school and in turn give her kids a brighter future.
“Malaking bagay po sa aming mahihirap ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program sapagkat ito po ay nakakatulong mabago ang antas ng buhay naming mahihirap,” Noche said.
Under SB No. 2117, conditional cash transfer grant per child enrolled in day care and elementary programs shall not be lower than P300 a month for each child while the cash grant per child enrolled in junior high school shall not be lower than P500 a month for each child, both for a maximum of 10 months for each year.
In addition, the conditional cash transfer grant for each child enrolled in senior high school shall not be lower than P700 a month for each child for a maximum of 10 months for each year.
Teresa Mangulabnan, another 4Ps beneficiary from Paco Manila, said she hopes that majority of the senators would now prioritize the immediate passage into law of this pro-poor measure.
“Gusto ko lang pong iparating kay Senator Leila de Lima ang aming pasasalamat sa pagsuporta niya sa isinusulong namin na 4Ps bill. Sana po mas marami pa po yung sumuporta sa amin na senador na tulad niya,” Mangulabnan shared.
The lady Senator from Bicol said the benefit of 4Ps is clear: “Ang pagputol sa siklo ng kahirapan ng mga maralita nating kababayan, at pagbibigay sa kanila ng kakayahang umunlad ang buhay kasabay sa pagpapaunlad ng ating bayan.”
She pointed out that senators are expected to ensure that laws are in place to help the poor to be self-sufficient through sustained income and livelihood opportunities.
“While the task of eradicating poverty is indeed a Herculean task, it is however our personal and collective obligation as duly-elected officials to contribute in ensuring that indigent Filipino families are given top priority in benefiting from whatever meager resources our national government has,” she said.
“Kaya naman muli po akong nananawagan sa ating mga kasamahan dito sa Senado, sa aking mga kapwa mambabatas: Ipasa na po natin ang batas na pagtitibayin hindi lamang ang 4Ps, kundi maging ang magandang kinabukasan ng sambayanang Pilipino,” she added. Last year, the SNPP submitted to Senate Committee more than 500,000 signatures endorsing the 4Ps bill.