4Ps not a dole out project – Malacañang

Malacañang defended the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Aquino administration amid the call from business leaders for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to review it.

Business leaders sought Duterte to assess the continuation of the Philippines’ conditional cash transfer program since it promotes dole out mentality among the beneficiaries.

But Palace spokesperson Herminio Coloma Jr defended that the program does not create a culture of dependency among the poor.

“Napatunayan naman kasi sa nakaraang anim na taon na kung maayos ang pangangasiwa ng ganitong programs, ito ay definitely hindi isang dole out,” Coloma was quoted in a GMA News Online story.

[We have proven in the past six years that if implemented well, it won’t become a dole out.]

“Unang-una ay pinag-aralan nang husto sa pamamagitan ng National Household Targeting System kung sino ba talaga ang karapat-dapat na mapasama sa programang ito. Pangalawa, tiniyak na sila ay may kumpleting datos: saan ang kanilang tinitirahan, sino-sino ang miyembro ng pamilya, ano ang edad ng mga anak,” he added.

[First of all, we studied who should be included in the program based on the National Household Targeting System. Second, it was ensured that data about them is complete: where do they live, who are the members of the family, what are their children’s age.]

4Ps is the flagship anti-poverty measure of the current administration, which had its roots from the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rule.

Through this, the government provides cash grants to enlisted poor families in exchange of ensuring the health and education of their children. Pregnant mothers who are also part of the beneficiaries are required to go for a regular check up.

The project aimed to alleviate poverty and curb maternal death rate as part of the millennium development goals (MDGs).

Over 4 million households are enrolled in the program.

Despite the project’s intention, the project has drawn flak for being a dole out program instead of lifting people out of poverty.

Incoming social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo earlier said she will re-assess the program but refused to institutionalize it through a legislation.

She said that a “bridging” and “stop-gap” program like 4Ps must be temporary.

4Ps also received criticisms from opposing parties during the election period. Contending camps have accused the ruling Liberal Party (LP) of using the program’s funds for the benefit of their candidates especially defeated presidential bet Manuel Roxas II and Vice-President-elect Leni Robredo.

Outgoing social welfare department head Corazon Soliman had since denied this accusation.