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4Ps assured of P106-B budget

THE beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will be getting P106 billion financial aid next year.

This was assured by Deputy Speaker and 1PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero as the House of Representatives started deliberating on the proposed national budget for 2021 amounting to P4.5 trillion.

According to Romero, the national government is allocating P106 billion for the 4.3 million 4Ps members.

He said the aid to the poorest of the poor comprises the bulk of the proposed P169.3-billion 2021 budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which implements 4Ps.

Romero, one of the authors of the law institutionalizing 4Ps or conditional cash transfers, said the program grants a monthly subsidy of up to P1,500 to qualified families, provided they comply with certain conditions, including keeping children in school and attending family development sessions.

He added that the program funding for 2021 represents an increase of P5 billion over this year’s P101 billion.

“The increase means that more poor families will receive financial assistance from the government,” Romero said.

The total appropriation for 4Ps for next year actually amounts to P113.8 billion, including P7.8 billion for administrative cost and other expenses.

Romero further said that the P4.7 billion of the P7.8 billion will go to salaries, P1.6 billion to “cost of service,” P289 million to “bank service fees,” P432 million to “monitoring and evaluation/spot checks,” P393 million to administrative expenses, P111 million to training, and P27 million to information, education and printing of manuals and booklets.

Romero noted that these miscellaneous expenses form part of the annual appropriation for 4Ps.

He called on the DSWD to clarify certain yearly allocations, like those for “cost of service” and “bank service fees,” whether these are separate expense items or are one and the same totaling a combined P2 billion.

Meanwhile, Romero urged state-owned Land Bank, the principal conduit of 4Ps cash grants, and other participating banks to reduce their service fees.

“A 50-percent reduction will mean an additional P1 billion that could go to beneficiaries or more poor families benefitting from the program,” he said.