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Miscellaneous

DSWD chief says DA proposal to convert cash subsidy of 4Ps benes into rice bags still under study

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is still in the process of studying the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to convert the Php600 rice subsidy for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries into actual bags of rice.

“One thing for sure, pinag-aaralan, hindi tayo sumusuko para ma-achieve din natin na matulungan yung mga producers natin na magsasaka,” Secretary Gatchalian told a press briefing in Malacanang Tuesday (Ferbruary 20).

(One thing for sure, we are studying it. We are not giving up so that we can also help our producers, our farmers.)

Secretary Gatchalian, however, clarified that the DSWD is taking into account the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr that providing assistance should not be at the expense of bringing discomfort to the beneficiaries.

“Tulad ng laging sinasabi ng Presidente, ang tulong hindi dapat pinahihirapan ang ating mga kababayan. That is where we draw the line. Meaning, kapag ka alam namin na lalo lang mahihirapan yung ating mga benepisyaryo, hindi natin itutuloy,” Sec. Gatchalian said before members of the Malacanang Press Corps.

(As the President always says, aid should not make our countrymen suffer. That is where we draw the line. Meaning, when we know that our beneficiaries will have more difficulties, we will not implement it.)

The DSWD chief cited some logistical concerns such as the storage difficulties and the presence of 4Ps beneficiaries in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) as some of the challenges being considered by the Department with regard to the proposal of the DA to provide actual bags of rice to the beneficiaries.

Secretary Gatchalian said the DSWD is also conducting a cost analysis to take into consideration the possible logistical cost such as in transporting the actual sacks of rice from the warehouse to the beneficiaries.

DA officials have proposed to President Marcos to convert the Php 600 rice subsidy given to 4Ps beneficiaries into actual rice to be supplied by the National Food Authority (NFA) as “this will ease the price pressures of the market in terms of buying high-price rice.”

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).

The 4Ps is the national poverty reduction strategy and a human capital investment program of the Philippine government and currently caters to 4.4 million household-beneficiaries nationwide.

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