De Lima urges DSWD to accommodate more qualified beneficiaries of 4Ps


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to accommodate additional qualified household beneficiaries into the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) considering the grave impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on poor families across the country.

De Lima, the principal author and sponsor of the 4Ps law in the Senate, filed Proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 894 also seeking to suspend the graduation of existing household beneficiaries from the program amid the current global health crisis.

“It is imperative for the government to provide and deliver social welfare assistance among its existing programs in the most expeditious way possible to help the poorest and marginalized households who are barely surviving the debilitating impact of this pandemic,” she said.

“4Ps, as an established and proven program in helping millions of poor households through its conditional cash transfers scheme, should be able to continue catering to and helping its existing beneficiaries who are all affected and in danger of sliding back to poverty,” she added.

The 4Ps Act, which was signed into law on April 17, 2019, provides conditional cash grants to qualified indigent families for a maximum of seven years to improve their health, nutrition, and the education of their children aged 0-18.

Section 4 of the 4Ps Act “provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven (7) years” but allows the National Advisory Council (NAC) to also recommend providing conditional cash transfer “for a longer period under exceptional circumstances.”

With its acute impact on the poor families, De Lima said the COVID-19 pandemic undeniably qualifies under the 4Ps law’s “exceptional circumstances” which allows the NAC to recommend to the DSWD the suspension of graduation from the program of 4Ps beneficiaries.

“The DSWD must strongly consider accommodating as many qualified household beneficiaries as possible and fully extend the government’s helping hand in reaching millions of poor families severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and assist to pull them out of poverty,” she said.

According to a Social Weather Stations survey, the protracted impositions of lockdowns not only exacerbated the economic insecurity of poor families but also created an estimated 1.8 million new poor families in July 2021.

Moreover, the shift into online and distance learning reportedly exacerbates the crises of many Filipino households, especially students from low-income and poor families, given their severely limited access to essential educational needs.

“Sa ganito kahalagang programa na nagkakaloob ng tunay na benepisyo sa mahihirap nating kababayan nararapat mailaan ang pondo sa gitna ng pandemya, hindi sa mga kumpanyang puro tongpats na hindi lang nagkakait ng serbisyo, kundi naglalagay pa sa buhay ng Pilipino sa higit na peligro,  said De Lima. (30)

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