House approves 4Ps bill on final reading Print
Tuesday, 04 September 2018 14:23

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 7773, a bill seeking to institutionalize the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

First District Congressman Celso Lobregat said that the proposed "Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Act,” which is principally authored by Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), is a poverty alleviation measure that aims to prioritize investments on human capital, provide resources, and improve delivery of services particularly in the areas of education, health, and nutrition to the poor.

It also seeks to achieve the following:  Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;  empower women and girls, and achieve gender equality; and  capacitate those who cannot provide for themselves so that they become productive and healthy members of society.

The bill defines the poor as households whose income falls below the poverty threshold as determined by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and who cannot afford in a sustained manner to provide their minimum basic needs such as food, health, education, housing, and other amenities.

Qualified households shall be selected by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on a nationwide basis through a standardized targeting system. The DSWD shall also be mandated to conduct a revalidation of targeting of beneficiaries every three years.

Each qualified household-beneficiary shall be entitled to a lump-sum conditional cash transfer (CCT) equivalent to P2,200 each month for expenses on health, nutrition, and education. A household-beneficiary may receive up to P26,400 in a year, for a maximum of five years.

The measure further allows for loan assistance if the beneficiary has successfully completed the required skills training.

In addition, Lobregat said the DSWD shall provide beneficiaries with direct and secured access to cash grants through authorized government depository banks (AGDB).

If the locality is not adequately served by an AGDB, the DSWD may contract the services of rural banks, thrift banks, and other similar institutions duly accredited by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The bill also provides conditionalities of coverage. For instance, children up to five years must receive regular preventive health check-ups and vaccinations, minors up to 18 years old must avail of de-worming pills at least twice a year, and pregnant women must avail of pre- and post-natal care and give birth with the assistance of a skilled or trained health care professional in a health facility.

The measure places emphasis on education as well: Children three to four years of age must attend day care or pre-school classes at least 85 percent of the time while children from 5 to 18 years old must attend elementary or secondary classes at least 85 percent of the time.

Should beneficiaries fail to comply with the set conditions, they shall be dealt with through a case management system as provided under the bill.

To complement the monitoring activities of DSWD, an independent monitoring committee composed of representatives from the private sector and civil society organizations will be established.

Congressman Lobregat said that this 4P’s bill can help the “poorest of the poor” sector here in Zamboanga City and the entire Western Mindanao region as well. (Dexter Yap)