LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 9 (PNA) -- Over a thousand personnel attached with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and involved in the nationwide implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are expected here as participants in the four-day National Program Review and Evaluation Workshop (NPREW).
The activity that will run from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14 also expects the presence of DSWD Sec. Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Undersecretary Parish Taradji, all the agency's 17 regional directors and assistant regional directors, regional program coordinators, monitoring and evaluation officers, officers of the program’s Financial Management System and staff of the National Program and Management Office (NPMO).
The NPREW, DSWD Bicol Regional Director Arnel Garcia said over the weekend, is an annual activity of the department in order to evaluate, assess the implementation and accomplishments of the program and to discuss its directions for the succeeding implementation period.
With the continuous expansion of the 4Ps covering more poor families in Bicol Region and all over the Philippines, the systems policies and guidelines of its implementation are being reviewed yearly to enhance further its impacts to beneficiaries, according to Garcia.
The 4Ps is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14.
The money is released to the most responsible adult person in the household, usually the mother, through the Electronic Card Banking System.
The program also helps the government to fulfill the country’s commitment to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as to: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger, Achieve Universal Primary Education, Promote Gender Equality, Reduce Child Mortality and, Improve Maternal Health.
Being implemented by the DSWD, the program had already enlisted as of last September a total of 361, 245 beneficiaries in Bicol, a region whose poverty incidence according to the latest statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) was at 34.1 percent.
The DSWD, through the 4Ps, is continuously providing an avenue for Bicol’s marginalized sector to break the string of dearth that for decades pinned most of their communities to the vicious cycle of life difficulties, Garcia said.
Poverty alleviation is a priority of the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III, he stressed.
According to Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda, who also sits as head of Bicol’s Regional Development Council (RDC), 4Ps is one of the most important accomplishments of Pres. Aquino in reducing hunger incidence by six percent only months after he assumed office in 2010 and expanded its coverage.
The program enables families to have a decent shelter and put food on their tables, afford necessary vaccinations and send their children to school -- reminding them that hope exists and that a brighter future is ahead, Salceda said.
Bicol, which is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the program, was listed as fourth among the poorest regions in the country before 4Ps implementation.
In 2012, the region was able to improve its rank to number seven, owing not only to 4Ps but also to the preferential attention it has been getting from the PNoy administration particularly in the development of its rural communities.
From 36.5 percent in 2009, Bicol’s poverty incidence was down to 34.1 percent during the first six months of 2012, making the region now the seventh poorest in the country from fourth in the first semesters of 2006 and 2009, the latest poverty estimates of the NSCB said.
Food-poor or extremely poor families in Bicol, the NSCB said, consistently dropped from 16.5 percent in first semester of 2009 to 14.1 percent in the same period of 2012.
“The funding for 4Ps has proven to be an inspired move while prompting positive and significant consequences in the lives of ordinary families, particularly food-poor rural families,” Salceda said.
The NPREW, Garcia said, will cover the review and analysis of last 2013 program operation.
It will also present the results of the policy recommendations based on various consultation workshops with the program stakeholders.
The activity will also discuss the prevailing issues and concerns being experienced by the program, and to come up with solutions and recommendations.
The participants will also carefully formulate strategic plans for 2014 based on the annual thrust and priorities of the DSWD, present the best practices of regions and provide recommendations to strengthen the cooperation and team work between national and regional level staffs, Garcia added. (PNA) /FGS/DOC/CBD/PJN