Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin Tulfo on Saturday said some two million Filipino families have been put on the wait list for the government’s cash assistance called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Meanwhile, a party-list lawmaker on Saturday urged the DSWD to prioritize farmers and fishermen as eligible 4Ps beneficiaries.
Tulfo made the statement to allay apprehensions by some groups that they might be excluded from the 4Ps list.
“Nananawagan ako dito sa 4Ps beneficiaries, lalo na sa opisyales ng samahan na mga sir at mga ma’am hindi lang ho ang mga miyembro ninyo ang miyembro na tumatanggap. Meron pa po akong nasa listahan na two million na naghihintay makapasok,” Tulfo said in a radio interview.
“Kung di po tayo mag-aalis paano naman po itong two million na may nag-aaral sa elementarya may nag-aaral sa high school na ilan taon na pong maghihitay … Paano naman po sila na wala ring source?”
Tulfo said that out of the 4.4 million families, 1.3 million beneficiaries will be removed from 4Ps because they are no longer qualified, or have already reached the maximum seven years of stay in the program.
But he said t these families would not be kicked out of the program immediately, and would be notified weeks before being delisted.
“Ang paliwanag ko sa kanila hindi naman kayo automatic na tatanggalin,” Tulfo said, “Tatanggalin kayo sa listahan pero aabisuhan kayo, for example, kung kayo’y tatanggalin sa listahan sasabihan na ho kayo … ‘Ngayong Agosto na, ma’am … Last po ninyong matatanggap ay September.'”
Tulfo also said that 600 families were being interviewed, but added that some of them shut their doors when DSWD officials visit their houses, or have vacated the place.
AGRI party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee filed House Resolution 89 seeking the inclusion of qualified farmers and fishermen in the 4Ps. He said this is in line with the DSWD’s plan to add 1.3 million households in the cash aid program.
“Although the figures reported by the DSWD are still in the process of final validation, the cash assistance and slots for those who ‘graduated’ from the program, and are not considered extremely poor anymore, must be given to the poorest and most neglected sector and population—the farmers and fisherfolks, as long as they qualify with the criteria set forth in the 4Ps Act,” Lee said.
Tulfo earlier said 1.3 million Filipino households have “graduated” from extreme poverty and would no longer receive conditional cash grants from the government, freeing up to P15 billion for new beneficiaries of the poverty reduction program.
Section 6 of Republic Act 11310 or the 4Ps Institutionalization Act states that farmers and fisherfolks, among other vulnerable sectors, shall be automatically included in the standardized targeting system to be conducted by the DSWD, provided, that to be eligible for the cash grants, households or families must meet the criteria spelled out in the law.
The two economic sectors reportedly have the worst poverty incidence among the basic sectors in 2018. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), agricultural workers are only being paid an average daily wage of P331.10 in 2019.
“As I and the AGRI party-list stated earlier, we laud the President’s prioritization of the Agriculture sector. Serious attention should be given by the government to our farmers and fisherfolks now. We must concretely acknowledge their fundamental role in our economy, address their plight and give proper value to their contributions through tangible and impactful assistance to their children and households,” Lee said.
“Apart from modernizing our agriculture infrastructure and equipment, we must give equal importance to integrated efforts on investing in human development among farmers and fisherfolks which is the education of their children and healthy households to address the root causes of poverty,” he said.