The World Bank’s sustained funding support for the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program for the country’s poorest households will go a long way in helping the Duterte administration achieve its agenda of reducing poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 and delivering a comfortable life to every Filipino, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has said.
He said this CCT initiative, dubbed the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, is an investment in the next generation of Filipinos who need to be prepared “to reap the benefits of the Philippines’ fast-approaching demographic dividend.”
Dominguez, on behalf of the Philippine government, and World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick signed Thursday morning the loan agreement providing an additional US$300 million financing for the 4Ps under the second phase of the Social Welfare Development and Reform Program.
Witnessing the signing of the loan accord were Secretary Rolando Bautista and Undersecretary Aimee Torrefranca-Neri of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
This additional World Bank funding aims to further strengthen the 4Ps until 2022 by continuing to support the delivery of CCTs to millions of beneficiaries; improving the project’s implementation performance, monitoring and evaluation procedures; and upgrading key dimensions of the 4Ps’ program management.
It will also help boost early childhood development and fight malnutrition among 8.7 million children from some 4.2 million families currently benefitting from the 4Ps program.
The World Bank has contributed a total of US$1.26 billion to the 4Ps since it first provided funding support for this program in 2010.
“I thank the World Bank for facilitating additional financing for the Second Social Welfare Development and Reform Program. The Bank has been a strong and reliable partner in the implementation of our conditional cash transfer initiative called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps,” Dominguez said after the signing of the loan accord at the Department of Finance (DOF) office in Manila.
Dominguez cited the World Bank for its assistance in strengthening the capability of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as a social protection agency and the setting up of the ‘Listahanan’ database for the 4Ps national household targeting system, “which has already gone a long way toward providing public services and support to those who really need it.”
As the Listahanan database is gradually linked to the National ID system, the targeting of beneficiaries and the efficiency and effectiveness of the 4Ps and other social protection initiatives will dramatically improve, Dominguez noted.
Warwick said the World Bank “is pleased that the government continues to strive to achieve even greater impacts from the program, including through innovations and investment in strengthening the Listahanan household targeting system; sharpening the program’s focus on children’s health and nutrition to reduce childhood stunting; and improving the payment system through introduction of digital technology for timely payments.”
According to Warwick, a World Bank study “estimated that the country’s cash transfer programs are the second most significant contributor to poverty reduction in the Philippines after individuals’ wage earnings from non-agricultural activities.”
Recognizing the effectiveness of the 4Ps in reducing poverty, Dominguez said President Duterte signed into law in April this year Republic Act (RA) No. 11310 institutionalizing this program to ensure that it will continue into the future.
Dominguez said the 4Ps is “an indispensable component of the more comprehensive effort to combat cross-generational poverty.”
“The entire economic program of President Duterte has the ultimate goal of bringing down our poverty incidence from 27.6 percent in the first half of 2015 to just 14 percent by the end of the President’s term in 2022, expanding economic inclusion, and making real the dream of a comfortable life for every Filipino. We will tirelessly work towards the full realization of this goal,” Dominguez said.