August 18, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 164 views

A House leader urged he Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to suspend its delisting or removal of up to 1.3 million poor families from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

Chairman of the House committee on poverty alleviation and 1PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero said during the last committee hearing the members have voted to call for a delisting moratorium and for the DSWD to carefully assess the situation of families to be removed from the program and those who would replace them.

Romero said the panel supports the government’s effort to have more poor Filipino families benefit from the 4Ps program, which grants a monthly financial subsidy provided beneficiaries comply with a set of conditions, including ensuring that their children attend school.

“We are all for that, but let us make sure that the exiting families have really improved their financial status and some of their children have finished college and are now employed,” Romero said.

According to the solon the members of the committee are happy for covered families whose children have already earned their college degrees.

However, Romero said the DSWD should have realistic standards in removing beneficiary-families from 4Ps.

The lawmaker-sportsman cited reports quoting a DSWD official that a covered household earning more than P12,000 a month would no longer be entitled to financial assistance.

“Is this level of monthly income a reasonable threshold? Is P400 a day enough to feed a family? Romero asked.

He said the proposed delisting moratorium would not hurt the 4Ps program as it has enough funds.

“Its funding in the annual national budget is good for 4.4 million families. Today, 3.9 million families are considered ‘active,’ of which 3.2 million are receiving financial assistance. Some 700,000 households are ‘under review’,” he said.

He pointed out that based on a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, 45 percent of Filipinos, or 12.5 million families, considered themselves poor during the second quarter of 2023.

According to SWS, of the 12.5 million families, two million were “newly poor,” 1.6 million were “usually poor,” while 8.8 million were “always poor.”

In its last meeting, the committee tackled several resolutions calling for a moratorium on the delisting of 4Ps families and for an updating of the list of beneficiaries.

One resolution, authored by members of the Makabayan bloc, urged the DSWD to wait for the completion of Listahan 3, a new listing of poor families based on a periodic government-undertaken national targeting system for poverty reduction.

Another resolution, authored by Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr., calls for an assessment of 4Ps “to ensure that the list of household beneficiaries is up-to-date, while hoping that poor families of the past have been empowered to be free from poverty.”