Archive | July, 2015

World Bank: Pantawid grantees cut drinking problem

Posted at Philippine Daily Inquirer website on July 16, 2015

By Paolo G. Montecillo

A sobering news for liquor makers is one positive effect of conditional cash transfer (CCT) for poor households in the Philippines.

The CCT program, called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), has led to a sharp decrease in alcoholism among the ranks of the poor, according to a new World Bank report.

The 4Ps is an expansion of cash transfers started by the previous Arroyo administration. From a small pilot of 6,000 families in 2007, the program grew rapidly to cover 4.4 million families at the end of 2014.

Apart from the original intended effects, namely higher enrollment rates and improved child health, spending on “vice goods” declined sharply in families covered by CCT, the report said.

Reaching key objectives

“Pantawid Pamilya increases households’ investments in education and does not encourage dependency or spending more on vice goods, such as alcohol,” the World Bank said in a report titled “The Social Safety Nets 2015.”

Spending on such vices was lower by 39 percent in families covered by Pantawid Pamilya than those that don’t get the dole, according to the report.

Across the country, CCT has led to better lives for millions of children, while income inequality has decreased. Children have become healthier and are staying in school longer, said the multilateral institution.

“Pantawid Pamilya is reaching most of its key objectives,” the report said.

Health insurance

Among Pantawid beneficiaries, about nine in 10 households are covered by the PhilHealth insurance program. The program also reduces the need for some families to make children work to augment household incomes.

Among beneficiaries, those ages 10 to 14 years old in the program work fewer days a month than children not in the program.

Pantawid Pamilya involves cash doles to qualified families on the condition that children stay in school. The CCT program also encourages regular checkups for mothers.

This year, the government expects to spend about P62 billion for the CCT program, up from just P9 billion when the program was started under the Arroyo administration.

Effective implementation

The World Bank report, which analyzed conditional and unconditional cash transfer programs around the world, said Pantawid Pamilya was among the five largest cash transfer programs on the planet based on the number of beneficiaries.

Data from 2013, which was cited in the report, showed 19 million people benefiting from Pantawid Pamilya. The biggest CCT program in the world is India’s, which covers close to 80 million.

The efficient implementation of Pantawid Pamilya was also noted by the World Bank.

“Pantawid Pamilya encourages the trial use of modern family planning methods. The program promotes facility-based deliveries and access to professional postnatal care and improves children’s access to some key health-care services,” the World Bank said.


The government’s targeting was also praised. According to the World Bank, CCT programs such as Pantawid Pamilya should earmark at least 20 percent of the money spent for families in the poorest 20 percent of the population in order to make a difference.

If this indicator is above 20 percent, the distribution tends to be propoor or progressive; if it is below 20 percent, the distribution is regressive, the World Bank said. In the Philippines, 46 percent of CCT money goes to the poorest 20 percent.

Income inequality reduced

As a result, Pantawid Pamilya has led to a 2.4-percent reduction in income inequality and a 12.5-percent cut in the number of poor people, World Bank data showed.

Results of the World Bank’s analysis come amid criticism against Pantawid Pamilya. The House committee on poverty alleviation in May proposed the creation of an independent body that would look into alleged “leaks” in the CCT program.

The investigation stemmed from House Resolution No. 591 filed by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing.


Suansing called for an inquiry into alleged issues besetting the CCT program “with the end view of addressing the complaints and problems in the program and make the necessary remedial legislation.”

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), one of Pantawid Pamilya’s technical partners, said most issues were already addressed.

Since 2010, the ADB has worked closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ensure funding goes to intended beneficiaries.

ADB technical assistance has supported the DSWD in implementing measures—such as a grievance redress mechanism, extra training for staff and spot checks in the field—to improve targeting models so they exclude noneligible families.

“Rigorous impact evaluations have shown that the program is meeting its overall objectives. Monitoring and evaluation of the program by government and partners will continue,” said ADB Philippines country director Richard Bolt.


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DSWD to provide livelihood assistance to 24,405 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries

Cagayan de Oro – The Department of Social Welfare and Development through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) endures its work to elevate the socio-economic condition of 277,510 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries of the region. This year the program shall provide assistance to 24,405 beneficiaries through micro-enterprise development and employment facilitation.

Micro-enterprise development is a capability building approach the focuses on community development, skills enhancement and network building by providing capital assistance and opportunities to manage and sustain micro-enterprises.

While the employment facilitation provides assistance to unemployed poor families through skills profiling, job matching, occupational guidance and counseling and job referrals to partner agencies.

The beneficiaries of the said livelihood assistance are those under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which provides grants for the poorest households especially for their children’s health and education.

The households will receive a maximum P1,400 for their children’s health and education, provided that they comply with the program’s conditions such as attendance to Family Development Sessions, regular attendance in school and regular health center visits.

Written by Jamila M. Taha, DSWD

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DSWD clarifies lump sum in its 2015 budget

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has no lump sum or discretionary funds amounting to P102.6 billion in the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“How can that be when the budget of the Department is already P107.8 billon?  We do have a budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses amounting to P102B, and the breakdown can be found in  pages 909 to 928 of the national budgetary document,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.

The DSWD 2015 budget also has the following major categories: General Administration and Support (P980,680,000),  Support to Operations (P265,747,000), and Operations (P86,034,766,000).  Part of the Operations budget includes P62.2B for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, P5.9B for Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, P4.9B for the Sustainable Livelihood Program, and P3.3B for the Supplemental Feeding Program.

It also has breakdown on locally-funded (P3,545,271,000) and foreign-assisted projects (P17,0303,737,000).

The Department continues to adhere and uphold the tenets of transparency and accountability especially when it comes to budgetary issues involving public funds.

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Pantawid, politics and that P19-B figure

Posted at Surveil Column, Opinion Page of Business World Online website

By Amina Rasul


Recently, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Management (DSWD) came under attack. Again. More popularly known as 4Ps or Pantawid (Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program), political commentators seized on a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which stated that close to P19 billion of the 4Ps budget did not go to the poor.

What?! I have been a member of the program’s National Independent Advisory and Monitoring Committee for over two years now and was shocked by the figure. So I did my own research.

It seems that the media’s source was the ADB publication Learning Lessons, which said: “The inclusive growth study noted that improvements are needed in the program’s targeting system.” Where did the P19-billion figure come from? This is where it gets amazing. The footnote of the ADB document referred to a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), which estimated a leakage rate of nearly 30% using 2009 data.

In 2009, the CCT Program’s budget was P8.3 billion, and the total number of beneficiaries was 777,500. Assuming the PIDS estimate of 30% was correct, then the amount of the purported leakage (based on the 2009 budget) would be P2.4 billion. How did the media come up with P19 billion? Simple. They applied 30% to the current budget (P62 billion). Voila! — P19 billion, give or take P400 million. I may not be that great at math, but even a 4Ps high school beneficiary would know better than to use an outdated 2009 figure and apply it to 2015 data.

Assuming a 30% leakage is correct, the actual amount would be only 13% of the P19 billion figure thrown about by some so-called political commentators.

However, the estimate of 30% is a matter that requires investigation. As Yul Brynner as the King of Siam said, “It’s a puzzlement!” I have asked the CCT Secretariat to find out what the formula was, since its own monitoring in 2010 actually delisted some 15% of the beneficiaries for noncompliance of the requirements.

What is the CCT all about, anyway? Why is the government, from the time of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the present, supporting it with billions of pesos? Is it a poverty alleviation program, like so many before that threw money at the poor?

An inspired and useful program initiated by the Arroyo administration, the CCT adapted the programs implemented by Mexico and Brazil to help reduce poverty by subsidizing poor families with school-age children. To me, it seems like a scholarship program for poor grade-school kids.

How does it work in the Philippines? A poor family with no steady income, with children aged six to 14, can get up to P1,400 monthly for five years. The family gets the subsidy for a maximum of three children, as a health grant and the rest as educational assistance. The family needs to make sure the kids are healthy and attend school. Thus, the grant really is more like a scholarship for the kids. No kids, no grant. Kids fail in school, reduce the grant. Further, pregnant women are required to get pre- and post-natal check ups. To make sure that the beneficiaries really do accomplish the conditions set, the monitoring of Pantawid is quite strict. The public schools provide proof of enrollment and the grades of the kids, the Department of Health centers monitor the health of the babies, kids and mothers. Children up to five years old are required to undergo check-ups and vaccines.

Further, Pantawid has implemented a values formation program through the Family Development Services (FDS), where the beneficiaries in a community gather regularly to participate in capacity building on parenting, health and literacy, among many topics. Local nongovernment organizations are partners of the DSWD, with local coordinators acting as municipal links who facilitate the FDS. Parents are required to attend the FDS. Anecdotal information to date tells us that the transformation of the parents has been remarkable.

Launched in 2008 with 380,000 poor households, it doubled after a year. Today, the program has expanded to cover 4.4 million families this year. About 11 million school children are being supported. To date, the DSWD has reported that compliance of the beneficiaries with the conditions is high: 93% for health, 98% for education, and 96% for family development services.

With regard to the need to improve the selection of its beneficiaries, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman has been quite zealous. Several years ago she invited leaders from civil society, academe, business and the religious sector to be part of the National Independent Advisory and Monitoring Committee (NIAMC) to help improve the CCT operations. Currently chaired by Evelyn Singson, the NIAMC members are as zealous as Secetary Dinky. I have attended several meetings where NIAMC members, like Economist Winnie Monsod, investigated DSWD monitoring reports the way the Senate conducts its hearings (without the harassment, bullying and disrespect).

When we analyzed the accomplishments to date, we were impressed by the impact of the cash grants. In education, near-universal enrollment of elementary age children (6-11 years old) and the enrollment rate for children aged 12 — 15 was six percentage points higher among Pantawid households than non-Pantawid ones. Child labor among Pantawid households has decreased by an average of seven days per month. Further, Pantawid mothers are more likely to seek pre- and postnatal care and deliver babies in health facilities.

Richard Bolt, ADB country director for the Philippines, has issued three statements to date to correct the misimpression that today’s 4Ps is so poorly managed that P19 billion has been lost.

Acknowledging that there were leakage issues in 2009, Bolt wrote: “The targeting issue raised in the PIDS report has been addressed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Conditional Cash Transfer Program and related ADB support. As such, we are confident that the issue raised is dealt with in the ongoing Conditional Cash Transfer Program.”

He goes further and states that the ADB Independent Evaluation report is “strongly positive and supportive of the program and its achievements including improved health outcomes and increased school participation, as well as its likely effect on the employability of the beneficiaries, and their chances for breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty.”

Will Bolt’s statements arrest the attacks on 4Ps? I have heard the line of attack of some of the so-called commentators. Sadly, I doubt if they will give equal air time for the official ADB statements. Its just so much more rewarding to stoke the anger of the masses by repeating, ad nauseum, that the government has thrown away P19 billion. I do hope and pray that Congress will be guided by fact, not politicking, when they deliberate on the budget of the Pantawid program. After all, over 4.4 million families and 11 million school children, their constituents, will benefit. Hope springs eternal.

Amina Rasul is a democracy, peace and human rights advocate, and president of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy.



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Focals and Local Welfare Officers undergo Re-Orientation

The Department of Social Welfare and Development recently conducted a re-orientation on the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Information System to Local Social Welfare officers and designated focal persons in various localities within the region.

The re-orientation was aimed to enhance participants’ competency as users of the Early Childhood Care and Development Program [ECCD] Information System.

The facilitators headed by Ms. Norilyn Rivera (Planning Officer III), discussed to the participants the basis, rationale, and the different features of the Early Childhood Care and Development Information System and the utilization of the ECCD Information System and its other features.

The re-orientation was conducted in two batches:Batch 1- Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon Cluster and for Batch 2- Camiguin and Misamis Occidental Cluster.

Assistant Regional Director for Administration, Manuel Borres in his inspirational message, hopes that after the re-orientation, the participants will be more competent in using the ECCD Information System. He also reminded them of the crucial role they play in the early stages of children.

Another highlight of the re-orientation was the preparation of Action Plans for the utilization of the ECCD Information in their respective areas of responsibility.

The Early Childhood Care and Development Program is one of the government’s programs spearheaded by the Department which recognizes the importance of early childhood and its special needs, affirms parents as primary caregivers and the child’s first teachers, and establishes parent effectiveness programs and activities.

Written by Mitzie S. Santiago,DSWD

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Pantawid Local Links Oriented on HIV-AIDS

As part of the advocacy efforts of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee Action Team on Violence Against Women and Children (RIACAT-VAWC) recently conducted an orientation on HIV-AIDS to local Pantawid Links.

Participated in by the Provincial,Municipal, and City Links from all over the region, the orientation was aimed to raise their awareness on HIV/AIDS, its modes of transmission, and its impact to the community.

The Pantawid Links being at the frontline of constantly engaging with the people in the communities forms a big part in advocating and informing the public specially the Pantawid beneficiaries on relevant issues like HIV/AIDS (Human Immuno Deficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) .

The participants are expected to conduct advocacy activities also to the Pantawid beneficiaries in their respective areas of assignment.

In Northern Mindanao, Davao (5%) and Cagayan de Oro City(4.7%)ranked the fourth and the fifth with the highest HIV/AIDS cases nationwide.

Written by Mitzie S.Santiago, DSWD

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Haven Conducts Self-Care and Resiliency Workshop

As part of strengthening the relationship between and among the residents and the staff, the Regional Haven for Women in Northern Mindanao recently conducted a self-care resiliency workshop and family conferencing activity.

Facilitated by Dr. Miguela Napiere, Dean of Graduate School in one of the colleges in the region, the clients were oriented on what self-care is and resiliency per se.

Another highlight of the activity was also the conduct of family conference .

Center residents also had the opportunity to share what they have learned from the trainings on livelihood and showcase their talents to their fellow residents.

The outing and bonding activity also added to the highlight of the the Center’s’activity. This venue, aside from being a regular quarterly activity also provides the opportunity for the clients and the staff to get to know each other better which can be helpful in the client’s rehabilitation and preparation for their eventual mainstreaming in society .

Written by Mitzie S.Santiago,DSWD

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Listahanan conducts judging of Photo Contest Entries

Cagayan de Oro City – As part of advocating transparency in identifying families in need of special protection, Listahanan recently conducted a Photo Contest dubbed as the Listahanan at Work : Identifying Families in Need of Special Protection .

In Northern Mindanao, out of twenty finalists, ten were qualified for the final judging of photo entries. Each participant was required to submit at least three photos .

Headed by Assistant Regional Director for Administration,Mr.Manuel Borres, panel of Judges included virtual artist/photographer Mr.Pennessencio Estarte (Ateneo de Cagayan) , Mr.Froilan Gallardo(photojournalist), Ms. Recthie Paculba (PIA 10), and Lifestyle Photographer ,Mr.John Ian Udang.
Photos were also posted at the Regional facebook page as part of advocating it through the social media as gathering of “Likes” per photo was part of the judging.

The Photo Contest was also aimed to raise the awareness and understanding of the public on the activities involved in the Second Round Assessment.

An orientation on Listahanan and mechanics for the contest and study tour were conducted to the participants as part of the photo contest.

Listahanan is the government’s data management system that identifies who and where the poor households are through the conduct of the assessment in households all over the region .

The Listahanan Second Round Assessment is currently being conducted nationwide with 793,989 households targetted for assessment in the region.

Written by Mitzie S. Santiago,DSWD

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July 2015