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Monday, May 27, 2024

Gatchalian: Only 13% of DSWD budget for 4Ps program used

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Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Thursday said that only 13 percent or around P12.7 billion out of the P94 billion budget for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have been disbursed so far.

Attending the budget hearing of the agency, Gatchalian told lawmakers this was because of the department’s cleansing of its list of program beneficiaries.

“Of the P94.3 billion budget for 4Ps for 2023, 30.74 percent have been obligated while the disbursement rate is at 13.46 percent. Admittedly, this is a bit low because we are completing the validation and further assessment of the 4Ps beneficiaries tagged non-poor under Listahanan 3,” Gatchalian told the House appropriations committee headed by Ako Bicol Rep. Elizaldy Co.

Gatchalian attended the hearing to defend the DSWD’s proposed P207 billion budget for 2024. Gatchalian said his agency has identified that the “non-poor households” in the Listahanan 3 were based on “Social Welfare Development Indicators.”

“Let me explain that this low utilization is a temporary state, since we are fast-tracking the validation of existing households who are tagged non-poor by recent Listahanan 3. We hope to complete the assessment process by September 2023 to determine the eligibility of

the households, whether they will be retained as beneficiaries or they will exit the program,” Gatchalian said.

The DSWD chief was quick to say the target number of 4Ps beneficiaries will remain at 4.4 million households even after the cleansing of the list.

“In case of the exit of non-eligibles, this will facilitate the integration of new beneficiaries as replacements to reach the target of [having] 4.4 million households,” Gatchalian pointed out.

“We hope to reach 4.4 million households by October and [also] expedite the payment for enhanced support system intervention and cash grant for payment  period in 2017 and 2018. It is also expected that incremental operating cost will increase, leading to increased utilization of the fund,” he added.

In a related development, the House appropriations panel endorsed the budget of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for plenary deliberations as the committee terminate the budget briefing.

Some legislators asked the appropriations committee to increase the budget of the CSC from the P2 billion budget recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The CSC initially requested a budget of P3 billion.

In his budget presentation, CSC chairperson Karlo Nograles, a former congressman, appealed to lawmakers to restore the agency’s budget for its recurring expenses.

“…we submitted tier one [and] tier two, but it was decreased in NEP. So, unfortunately, our recurring expenditures were among those that were cut.

“Again, unfortunately, we don’t know why this wasn’t included even if these were recurring expenses that CSC has to pay for,” Nograles explained.

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