De Lima files bill to provide electrical subsidy; promote entrepreneurship, livelihood in 4Ps

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure seeking to provide electrical subsidy and harness the entrepreneurial skills of poor Filipino households, particularly the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps. 

De Lima, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1898 amending Republic Act (RA) No. 11310 also known as “An Act Institutionalizing The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4ps).”

“The primary objective of this bill is to provide electrical subsidy to beneficiaries of the 4Ps by covering 25% of the average household consumption of 250 kilowatt hours which amounts to ₱500 per month,” she said.

“Given the increase in electrical consumption of households by online and modular classes and our continued lockdown, electricity becomes an indispensible resource and cost of poor Filipino families,” she added.

Studies of the World Bank reveal that access to electricity contributes to poverty reduction and to improvements in the standard of living in several ways.

Meanwhile, data from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) reveals that the number of poor Filipinos could surge by about 1.5 million to 5.5 million from the last statistical baseline of 17.7 million in 2018.

With Republic Act No. 11310, the 4Ps, as a Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) scheme, guarantees financial incentives to poor households in exchange for their adherence to the program’s conditions related to health and education intervention. 

De Lima, principal author of the 4Ps bill at the Senate, said the government is expected and bound to maximize its program related to the 4Ps considering the current health crisis that brought economic damages to the country and the Filipino people.

“Given the spending power reduction of poor households, further assistance from the government is imperative as a safety net in their vulnerability to slide back to further poverty,” she said.

“Dahil sa pandemya, mas mabibigat na hamon at suliranin ang pinapasan ngayon ng marami nating mga kababayan, lalo na ng maralita. Kinakailangan nila ng karagdagang tulong hindi lang para maprotektahan sa sakit, kundi upang produktibong makapag-ambag sa lipunan at maitaguyod ang pamilya,” stated De Lima.

Additionally, De Lima said SB No. 1898 is expected “to mitigate further vulnerability risks of poor Filipino households and encourage them to pursue and harness their entrepreneurial skills as a sustainable effort to overcome their present condition with the continued support of the government.”

The 4Ps Act, which was signed by President Duterte last April 17, provides conditional cash grants to an estimated 4.8 million qualified indigent families for a maximum of seven years to improve their health, nutrition, and the education of their children aged 0-18. (30)

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