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DSWD chief says Community-Based Monitoring System provides updated, more responsive list of poor households

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Tuesday (February 20) underscored the significance of the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) in providing an updated and more responsive list of individuals living in poverty which can be used as an effective targeting mechanism for the agency’s various social protection services.

“It’s a very effective tool kasi granular siya eh, napaka-micro noong kaniyang sinusukat and dahil local government unit (LGU)-driven ‘to, together with the PSA, puwede ninyong i update nang i-update nang mas mabilis,” Secretary Gatchalian told reporters in a press briefing in Malacanang.

(It’s a very effective tool because it is granular and very micro in its measurement. Since it is driven by the local government unit (LGU), in collaboration with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), it allows for faster and more frequent updates.)

Given the significant changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the DSWD chief emphasized that the current Listahanan database, which was used in updating the list of eligible beneficiaries for the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps), may no longer accurately reflect the current socio-economic landscape in the country.

“Iyong Listahanan na ginagamit natin is 2019 pa so alam natin na bahagi noon nangyari bago nag-COVID… So maaring nag-iba na at alam rin nating nag-iba na ang mukha ng kahirapan – maaari iyong mga dating hindi mahirap, dahil sa pandemya eh nag-adjust ang buhay, naging mahirap,” Secretary Gatchalian explained to Palace reporters.

(The Listahanan we are using is from 2019, so we know that it represents a period before COVID-19. Things may have changed. We are aware that the face of poverty may have changed – individuals who were not poor before the pandemic may have become impoverished due to life adjustments caused by the pandemic.)

According to Secretary Gatchalian, the 4Ps list has already been cleansed, which was started by former DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo. “However, this still needs to be updated using a new and responsive database of poor households,” he said.

“It’s due for creating of a new list and that’s CBMS,” Sec. Gatchalian said, noting that its granular and micro-level approach provides a more detailed and accurate understanding of individual circumstances.

Sec. Gatchalian also pointed out that the CBMS addresses concerns not only related to DSWD’s programs but also serves as a valuable database for all agencies with anti-poverty initiatives.

The CBMS is a system of the PSA that collects, processes, and validates data used for a more comprehensive poverty analysis, which is meant to replace the DSWD’s poverty database “Listahanan” in 2024.

The DSWD chief has acknowledged the significant role of the data from CBMS in implementing social protection programs, including the 4Ps.

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