Friday, March 4, 2016

Gov’t spends Php4.3B in payout to Bicol 4Ps beneficiaries in 2015 — DSWD
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, March 3 (PNA) -- The national government spent about Php4.3 billion for 374,459 household-beneficiaries in Bicol in the form of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) payout under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) last year, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

These figures, DWSD Bicol Regional Director Arnel Garcia on Thursday said here, were as of February 29.

Under the program being implemented by the DSWD, beneficiaries receive monthly cash grants for health amounting to Php500 per household and additional amounts of Php300 and Php500 for each child enrolled in elementary grades and high school, respectively, as educational grants.

Hence, the monthly grant cash package per household with three children in elementary amounts to Php1,400 or Php2,000 for a household with three children in high school.

The money is released to the most responsible adult person in the household, usually the mother, through the Electronic Card Banking System of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) or in places where there are no available Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), an alternative payment scheme had been arranged.

In this alternative mode of payment, the LBP uses conduits such as rural banks and cooperatives for timely distribution of cash assistance to beneficiaries.

For Albay, these conduits are the Rural Bank of Camalig and Guinobatan; the branches in the province of the Rural Banks of Pilar and Donsol (Sorsogon); Banco Santiago de Libon; and St. Anthony Development Cooperative.

For Camarines Norte, the conduits are the rural banks of Capalonga, Paracale, San Vicente and Sta. Elena; and the Labo Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative; while in Catanduanes are the Rural Bank of Camalig branch in the island province and the Vision Bank.

In Camarines Sur, they are Banco Santiago de Libon; rural banks of San Jose, Magarao and Goa; Pili Market Development Cooperative; CamSur Multi-Purpose Cooperative; Baao Parish Multi-Purpose Cooperative; San Isidro Development Cooperative; Libmanan Community Development Cooperative; Lupi Multi-Purpose Cooperative; and Nabua Development Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

In Masbate are the rural bank of Camalig and Guinobatan branches; Queensays Cooperative; Best Aqua-Agri Business Credit Cooperative; and Balud Health Employees and Multi-Purpose Cooperative; while in Sorsogon are rural banks of Camalig, Guinbatan, Pilar and Donsol; and the Salvacion Farmer’s Development Cooperative.

Through these conduits, the DSWD-Bicol is able to arrange payout schedules that deliver the money to where they are and when it should be received, considering the beneficiaries’ best interest, said Garcia who assured that such scheme is the easiest and most economical way.

He said that this year, it is expected that the number of 4Ps beneficiaries in Bicol will increase from its 2015 figure, given the expansion under the Php3.002 trillion 2016 National Budget, which allocated Php62.7 billion to the program implementation nationwide and considering the fact that more poor families were identified in the region during the recent assessment process.

The assessment was made through the second round of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) or Listahanan conducted by the DSWD late last year wherein 410, 186 poor families were initially identified out of the 1.1 million households assessed in the region.

Listahanan is a project intended to come up with an updated information management system that aims to establish a database of poor households which identifies who and where they are.

Through this, a new batch of poor families has been identified and become candidate for government and non-government social protection programs as the official list is shared with data users to serve as their guide in selecting beneficiaries.

The new assessment also enables the DSWD to track changes or developments in the lives of poor households who were identified in the previous assessment as the finalization of the new list involves the forming of a Local Validation Committee that acts on complaints and appeals.

Garcia said that while the poverty situation among families in Bicol has significantly improved from its previous Listahanan record, still, the expansion of the 4Ps coverage remains necessary, given that more poor families have been identified as poor and illegible beneficiaries.

The first Listahanan also conducted by the DSWD in 2009 recorded 59.5 percent or 461,242 families of the 775,014 households assessed in Bicol as poor while the 2015 assessments initially showed only 38.9 percent or 410,186 of the 1,056,722 households are poverty-stricken.

Since the 4Ps was only able to cover a total of 374,459 households as of 2015, there are still more than 37,700 that need the assistance, granting that the region now is in possession of a new and bigger number of poor families as identified through the Listahanan’s second round of assessment, which is more precise than the old one, he said.

This second round assessment, Garcia explained, applied new features in the conduct of identifying the poor to minimize, if not totally prevent, errors in the inclusion and exclusion process experienced by the first one.

The new features include the application in the Proxy Means Test (PMT) of two sub-models -- one for the National Capital Region and one for all other regions that will make community variables as determinants of poverty status.

A second stage screener to flag possible inclusion errors or non-poor being included in the list of poor has also been applied and with these enhancements and the combined inclusion and exclusion, error rates declined from 22-35 percent in the old model to 6-19 percent in the new model, he added. (PNA) PGL/FGS/DOC/CBD