The beneficiaries of the government’s anti-poverty program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps have Cong. Cris “Mr. Coop” Paez of the Daang Matuwid coalition senatorial slate to thank for standing up for them at the House of Representatives and the Congress Bicameral Committee.
Congressman Paez said beneficiaries of 4Ps need to organize and strengthen themselves so that it can engage government to sustain the anti-poverty program. The Daang Matuwid senatorial made this statement as the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development hold 4Ps roadshows today in Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga cities. 4Ps beneficiaries in Bukidnon also gathered at the Bukidnon State University last Thursday. Similar 4Ps gatherings will be held on Saturday in Oroquita City, in Dipolog City on March 21 and Pagadian City on March 22.
There are over 270,000 household beneficiaries of the 4Ps in Northern Mindanao.
Some power blocs do not want the masses to be empowered, which is why some politicians wanted to strike down the P8 billion budget for the 4Ps in the 2016 budget. But congressman Paez of Coop Natcco Party List defended the 4Ps budget at the House of Representatives.
This was confirmed by a senior official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) who asked not to be identified as he may be construed as campaigning for the senatorial candidate and the administration’s Daaang Matuwid coalition.
“Yes, he was one of our strongest advocates in Congress,” the official said.
Paez said his staunch defense for the 4Ps budget was borne out of his conviction that government should spend more for the welfare of the poor and the 4Ps which primarily addresses the educational and nutritional needs of school children, among others should be broadened to become sustainable and have substantial impact in the age-old struggle against pervasive poverty.
“Dapat dagdagan ang pundo at palawakin ang 4Ps,” Paez said, recalling how he stood amidst pressure from powerful politicians to reduce the 4Ps budget at the House of Representatives.
“In fact, for it to have sustainability, yung 4Ps should expand to provide livelihood to the poor,” he added.
The Aquino administration, he said, is in the right track in its anti-poverty strategy. “But the livelihood component of the 4Ps should be further given focus,” said the Daang Matuwid coalition senatorial candidate.
The DSWD has a program for those who “graduate” from the 4Ps called the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). Through the SLP, government gives seed capital to individuals and groups who are ready to become entrepreneurs.
The DSWD and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) are now in the process of forging a partnership for the cooperative development of SLP beneficiaries.
According to the DSWD website, the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a human development measure of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18. It is patterned after the conditional cash transfer (CCT) schemes in Latin American and African countries, which have lifted millions of people around the world from poverty.”
As of August 2015, there are 4,353,597 active household-beneficiaries, of which 570,056 are indigenous households and 217,359 have at least one PWD. The program also covers 10,235,658 schoolchildren aged 0 to 18, from the total registered with an average of two to three children per household. (advt)