DAVAO CITY, Philippines – 23,009 families in Davao region have been delisted this year from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, properly known as 4Ps.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the agency in charge of this government program that gives cash incentives to the country’s poorest families, said the delisting is the result of its first round validation where they found 23,009 to be “non-poor.”
The validation, conducted since July 2022, used an assessment form, or ‘Listahanan’, that assessed beneficiaries based on their income, employment status, housing type, source of water and electricity, and the kind of appliances they possess.
The head of DSWD Region 11 Division on 4Ps, Margie Cabido, said upon reviewing this initial assessment, they double-checked if the beneficiaries need to stay under the program or be taken off the list.
“Kasi computation man gud sya. Kung taas ang ilang rate ana pwedi silang mahimong non-poor but if wala silay or baba ang ilang rate ana for their economic indicators pwede silang macategorize as still poor or near poor,” said Cabido.
(Since this is based on computation, if they rate high they can be categorized as non-poor, but if they get a low rate for their economic indicator, they still remain as poor or near-poot)
The 4Ps program, which started in the Arroyo administration, aims to give cash incentives to farmers, farm workers, homeless and informal settlers.
Those qualified must be classified as “poor and near poor” based on poverty threshold issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority. A family living on less than P12,000 a month falls under the poverty threshold.
The DSWD accepts family beneficiaries who have members below 18 years old and pregnant women. Beneficiaries must comply with the program’s conditions that children must attend 85% of classes.
Former DSWD Secretary and media broadcaster Erwin Tulfo started the delisting last year to identify if beneficiaries still comply with the conditions or fall under the poverty category. He noted some beneficiaries have already graduated.
But the delisting effort is met with criticism. The Makabayan coalition in Congress said more families have fallen into poverty because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is incredulous to accept the claim that more families have crossed the poverty line and are considered as non-poor, especially with the nonstop price hikes, depressed wages, and massive joblessness,” said Arlene Brosas, representative of Gabriela Women’s Party under Makabayan.
The delisting does not mean the government is decreasing its expenditure on the program. Cabido said it is targeting to serve 284,166 households as they are expecting an increase in the number of around 16,000 to 22,000 households due to the pandemic.
As of March 2023, DSWD’s active 4Ps beneficiaries are 259,361 whereas Davao de Oro (60,078) has the highest number of beneficiaries followed by Davao del Norte (55,452), Davao Oriental (41,505), Davao City (38,489), Davao del Sur (32,074), and Davao Occidental (41, 505). Kath Cortez/davaotoday.com