Mike Defensor

Exclusion of unvaccinated from 4P hit as oppressive

November 8, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 295 views

ANAKALUSUGAN party-list Rep. Mike Defensor has rejected as “oppressive and anti-poor” the proposal to exclude the 4.4 million household beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or 4Ps, from receiving their conditional cash grants if they do not get vaccinated against coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).

“The proposal is downright oppressive and anti-poor, and simply unacceptable. Indigent families and their dependent children will suffer more if they get deprived of their cash subsidies,” Defensor, House committee on welfare of children vice chairperson, said.

“Instead of penalizing poverty-stricken families, the government should find better ways to further improve public access to COVID-19 vaccination services,” Defensor said.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya earlier said the government was exploring the possibility of stripping 4Ps beneficiaries of their subsidies if they refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Defensor said the 4Ps has a budget of P106.8 billion this year, of which P99.2 billion is allotted for the cash grants, including the amount for rice subsidies, of 4.4 million qualified household-beneficiaries.

In the proposed P5.024 trillion national budget, Defensor said 4Ps – a poverty reduction and human capital investment program – has a higher allocation of P115.7 billion. Under the program, qualified household beneficiaries are entitled to receive cash grants provided they keep their children in school, undergo regular medical checkups, and send at least one representative to attend monthly family development sessions.

Pregnant women in the family must also avail of pre-natal services, give birth in a health facility, and receive post-partum care as well as post-natal care for their newborn.