4Ps institutionalized as Duterte signs law on cash doles

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law which institutionalized the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as a regular poverty reduction program of the government for qualified poor families across the country.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11310, a copy of which was released by Malacañang on Wednesday.

As a national poverty reduction strategy and a human capital investment program, the 4Ps provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years, to improve the health, nutrition and education aspect of their lives.

Authors of the law, including opposition Senator Leila De Lima, found it necessary to pass legislation since 4Ps is just a policy program that can be scrapped by the next administration.

“It is our solemn duty to ensure its sustainable implementation, protection from political patronage and insulation from government transition that can weaken the impact of the program,” De Lima said in a statement in September last year.

Considered eligible for the program are farmers, fisherfolks, homeless families, indigenous peoples, those living in the informal sector and those living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas including in areas without electricity.

All beneficiaries shall be automatically covered in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall select the beneficiaries using a standard targeting system and revalidate the qualified beneficiaries every three years.

The beneficiaries must comply with the following conditions:

  • Pregnant women must avail of pre-natal services, give birth in a health facility attended by a skilled health professional, and receive post-partum and post-natal care for her and her newborn;
  • Children zero to five years old must receive regular health and nutrition sevices including check-ups and vaccinations;
  • Children one to 14 years old must avail of deworming pills at least twice a year;
  • Children three to four years old must attend day care or pre-school classes at least 85 percent of the time, while children 5 to 18 years old must attend elementary or secondary classes at least 85 percent of the time;
  • At least one responsible person must attend development sessions conducted by the DSWD at least once a month.

Any or all of the conditions may be suspended by the DSWD Secretary during times of calamities, war and armed conflicts.

Failure to comply with the conditions even after having been notified in writing shall cause the immediate termination of cash grants to the beneficiary, whose household will be subject to an assessment process by the DSWD.

If, after one year, the household beneficiary is still non-compliant, he or she shall be removed from the program.

The law establishes regional and national advisory councils headed by the DSWD which shall determine the amount of conditional cash transfer each beneficiary may be granted.

According to the law, the conditional cash transfer grant per child enrolled in day care/elementary programs and junior high school will not be lower than P300 and P500 a month, respectively, for a maximum of 10 months each year. A senior high school student beneficiary will receive at least P700 a month for a maximum of 10 months per year. 

Health and nutrition benefits of qualified beneficiaries must not be lower than P750 a month for a maximum of 10 months per year. 

Qualified beneficiaries may avail of livelihood programs in the form of microenterprise development and employment facilitation.

The advisory councils are also mandated to address complaints and grievances pertaining to the implementation and recommend to the President measures and policies for the responsive delivery of commitments under the law and integration with the general poverty reduction strategy of the government.  

Under the measure, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies shall conduct every three years an impact assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the 4Ps, the veracity of the list of household beneficiaries and the program implementation.

A person found guilty of inserting or allowing the insertion of data or false information or who diverts from what ought to be contained in the registry in order to ensure monetary grants to persons other than the qualified beneficiaries shall be penalized with either imprisonment or fine or both.

A public official who commits the prohibited acts shall be penalized with temporary disqualification to hold public office and slapped with administrative sanctions without prejudice to criminal prosecution.

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4Ps institutionalized as Duterte signs law on cash doles