Dispatch from Crame No. 513: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Proposed 4Ps Performance Audit


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Marami pa rin tayong mga kababayan na nasasadlak sa matinding kahirapan na nangangailangan ng tulong mula sa ating pamahalaan. Despite a slight decline in the country’s poverty incidence for the first semester of 2018, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority reveal that a staggering 23.1 million Filipinos are still identified as poor.

Ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps – isang programang nagsimula noong 2008 pa at dumaan na sa tatlong administrasyon – ay nakadisenyo upang maging bahagi ng isang mas malaking programa at istratehiya para labanan ang kahirapan. It is an internationally recognized intervention program that truly changes the lives of its beneficiaries through the opportunities it provides and the empowerment it engenders. Hindi gaya ng ‘Build Build Build’ Program at mga government investment program, ang 4Ps ay direkta at konkretong naipararating sa ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan at tinutulungan ang kanilang mga sambahayan na makapaghanda para lubos na pakinabangan ang ating mga livelihood at employment program.

Naniniwala ako sa mga programa tulad ng 4Ps, isang malinaw na pagsisikap ng gobyerno na ibigay ang mga pangunahing pangangailangan ng mga mamamayang nasa laylayan ng lipunan upang sila’y makaahon sa kahirapan. This is the core mandate of human rights and is the very centerpiece of social justice – consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the State of promoting the general welfare of the people, and of bringing about “the greatest good to the greatest number.”

Nevertheless, 4Ps is still a government program and those who implement it are, and should always be, accountable to our people. As chairperson of the Committee on Social Justice and Welfare, I welcome the proposal of Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Gregorio Honasan, to conduct a comprehensive review of the 4Ps, under which over ₱500 billion has been disbursed since it started in 2008.

I have long been open to an inquiry into the implementation of the 4Ps program, as when I filed in August 2018 proposed Senate Resolution No. 850, where I was seeking to address what the Commission on Audit claimed as unwithdrawn amount totalling ₱1.323 billion in cash grants and was seeking an explanation and redress from the DSWD. The failure of those funds to reach qualified beneficiaries is a serious case of negligence that we cannot afford to have as many of our countrymen are in dire need of financial assistance.

Presently, the enrolled copy of the 4Ps bill sent to Malacañang that awaits President Duterte’s signature contains marked improvements that address key implementation issues and gaps of the program, such as making it more inclusive to farmers and fisherfolk, strengthening its livelihood and employment intervention, improved conditionalities for availment, and limiting the years of membership in the program to 7 years.

It also provides for an impact assessment every 3 years and strengthened oversight mechanisms to avoid leakages and insulate the program from “epal” politics.

A comprehensive review of the program, under my Committee, can provide us with meaningful insights that will elevate the program and make it more effective for the next generation of beneficiaries.

Being born poor is never a sin – our people cannot be made to perpetually suffer from inherited poverty. Our obligation as the hands that help guide the future of our nation is to no longer allow the poor to die poor. We start at something – and we start with this.

As its principal sponsor at the Senate, along with the co-authors of the bill and our counterparts at the House of Representatives, I deem it absolutely imperative to implement this program properly, given its committed results, the resources we have invested, and the positive impacts it has already delivered.

Welcome na welcome po ang review ng 4Ps na panukala ng ating mga kasamahan sa Senado. Tunay po itong napapanahon at kapaki-pakinabang para sa lahat.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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