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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Suarez to propose supplemental budget for P13b 4Ps fund

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Quezon Rep. David Suarez on Sunday said he may propose to pass a supplemental budget to address the P9-billion deficit in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) brought about by the budget cut of P13 billion made by Senator Imee Marcos in the program’s 2023 funding.

“A supplemental budget can address the 4Ps crisis created by Senator Marcos’ realignment of P13 billion from the program to other social amelioration endeavors of the government that left 843,000 families or four million poor Filipinos without financial support,” Suarez said.

“We cannot stomach to just allow that four million (poor) Filipinoswould not be able to receive from the 4Ps mandated under the law.

Their level of poverty must not get that serious,” added the House Deputy Speaker.

In last week’s hearing of the House committees on public accounts and social services on the privilege speech delivered by 4Ps party-list Rep. JC Abalos, the Department of Social Welfare and Development confirmed the existence of the P9-billion deficit, Suarez said.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian confirmed Marcos’ realignment of P13billion in 2023 that was supposed to be for the 4Ps but was given to other programs.

Suarez said when the 2023 national budget was approved in the House of Representatives, the 4Ps funding was complete and intact.

“Now I don’t know what happened in the Senate, why all of a sudden P13 billion was slashed. That’s sad,” he said.

Suarez previously said the decision of Senator Marcos to realign P13 billion in the 2023 national budget intended for the 4Ps was like “stealing from 4 million poor Filipinos.”

During a briefing of the House committees on public accounts and social services, Suarez said he confirmed from Social Welfare Secretary Gatchalian the funds were allocated to other social amelioration programs.

Gatchalian said the 4Ps program is not just an amelioration program of the DSWD as it is based on a law.

The DSWD chief said the objective is for enrolled families to literally cross the threshold of being impoverished to break intergenerational poverty.

Marcos, in an earlier statement, admitted to recommending some P8 billion in 4Ps funding be realigned to other DSWD programs such as the supplemental feeding, KALAHI-CIDSS, Quick Response Fund for disasters, and AICS during the deliberations of the 2023 national budget.

“The P5-billion AICS reduction, on the other hand, occurred after I had recommended the amount in the Senate version, but the bicameral removed it for lack of fiscal space post-COVID. Those two amounts – P8 billion plus P5 billion – are perhaps what some befuddled members are referring to,” she said.

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