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Monthly rice subsidy in cash for 4Ps members more convenient than actual bags of rice – DSWD Spox

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) stands by its earlier statement that the current Php 600 monthly rice subsidy for beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is more practical and efficient compared to giving actual bags of rice, Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said on Friday (February 16).

“After discussion with the Department of Agriculture (DA), we made it clear to them that this is not feasible because of the logistical requirements which may not be convenient with the beneficiaries,” Asst. Secretary Lopez, who is also the DSWD spokesperson, said in the DSWD Weekend Report which he is co-hosting with Director Aldrine Fermin of the Traditional Media Service.

DA officials have proposed to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. 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).

“There is also no provision in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the purchase of rice, thus, there is no legal cover to begin with,” Asst. Sec. Lopez pointed out in the Weekend Report which is being livestreamed in the DSWD Facebook page.

“With no legal cover, there is no need for discussion with the National Advisory Council (NAC),” the DSWD spokesperson said.

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.

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

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