Home>Editorial>Miscellaneous>Cash grants for rice more practical, efficient for DSWD, 4Ps members – Spox

Cash grants for rice more practical, efficient for DSWD, 4Ps members – Spox

The current mode of providing rice subsidy through cash grants using the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) cash card is a more practical and efficient means both for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the 4Ps beneficiaries, an agency official said on Wednesday (February 14).

“We have to be honest din po na may implied logistical nightmare ito should we decide to distribute rice instead of cash,” DSWD Asst. Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said in an interview with Radyo5.

(We have to be honest that this may imply a logistical nightmare should we decide distributing rice instead of cash.)

Asst. Sec. Lopez, who is also DSWD spokesperson, said the rice subsidy for 4Ps beneficiaries is given in cash to avoid queuing up to get their bags of rice during the distribution.

The Php600 monthly rice subsidy is given to qualified 4Ps members on top of their education and health grants upon compliance with specific behavioral conditions like sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for regular check-ups, and attending the Family Development Sessions (FDS).

DA officials have proposed to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to convert the cash aid given to 4Ps beneficiaries into rice assistance to be supplied by the National Food Authority as “this will ease the price pressures of the market in terms of buying high-price rice.”

During the radio interview, Asst. Sec. Lopez said the DSWD is open to recommendations from partner stakeholders that will improve the implementation and delivery of programs for poor Filipino households under the 4Ps program.

“Tayo naman po sa DSWD lagi nating iginagalang any move, any suggestion that will improve iyon pong pagbibigay natin ng serbisyo sa ating mga beneficiaries including iyong ating mga 4Ps members,” the DSWD spokesperson told TV anchors Ted Failon and DJ Chacha.

(Well, we, at the DSWD, always respect any move or suggestion that will likely improve the services we provide to our beneficiaries, including our 4Ps members.)

The DSWD spokesperson explained that any recommendation that will amend the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the 4Ps, such as the proposal to provide actual bags of rice – instead of cash – to the 4Ps beneficiaries, needs the approval of the NAC member-agencies.

The NAC is composed of members from different government agencies that include the DSWD, the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), among others.

Asst. Sec Lopez assured the beneficiaries and partner-stakeholders that the DSWD is ready to implement the DA’s proposal once the 4Ps National Advisory Council (NAC) approves a resolution calling for actual rice distribution instead of the cash grant.

“If ito po ang mapagkakasunduan ng National Advisory Council, we will follow and we will implement,” Asst. Sec. Lopez told Radyo5.

(But then, if this is agreed upon by the National Advisory Council, we will follow and implement it.)

The DSWD spokesperson said the Department is a member of the technical working group (TWG) tasked to study the DA proposal.

“Studies and simulations are being done by the DA, taking into account the point of view of our 4Ps beneficiaries,” Asst. Sec Lopez pointed out.

The 4Ps, a flagship program of the DSWD, currently has 4.4 million household-beneficiaries nationwide.

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