Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian clarified on Wednesday (July 26) that the selection process of beneficiaries for the agency’s Food Stamp Program and other social protection programs are all data-driven and without political intervention from local politicians.
“It has always been a misconception that the selection of beneficiaries goes through the political leaders, quite the contrary. All our programs, including 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) and now the Food Stamp Program, ang anchor nyan is the Listahanan database that the Department runs,” Secretary Gatchalian explained at the 2023 Post-SONA Discussion on Poverty Reduction.
“The local leaders have no control over that and we use the Listahanan as a basis for different intervention programs,” the DSWD chief asserted.
Listahanan is an information management system that establishes a database of poor households that will serve as basis in identifying potential beneficiaries for different social protection programs and services nationwide.
The database of Listahanan uses Proxy Means Test (PMT) for the generation of the list of poor households.
PMT is a statistical model that estimates the income of families using the proxy variables indicated in the Household Assessment Form (HAF) of potential beneficiaries.
Empowerment through Food Stamp
Secretary Gatchalian also highlighted in the Post-SONA Discussion the features of the newly-launched WALANG GUTOM 2027: Food Stamp Program as a program that empowers food-poor beneficiaries.
“The Food Stamp Program is envisioned to fulfill the promise of the President to end involuntary hunger and, at the same time, to make the country more inclusive,” the DSWD secretary said.
“It gives them back the power of choice. It empowers our food poor Filipino families to decide for their own, what their families need,” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.
Aside from combatting involuntary hunger, the FSP also seeks to change the behavior of its food-poor beneficiaries to start consuming delicious types of food that are affordable and nutritious.
The FSP aims to combat involuntary hunger experienced by qualified low-income families by giving them Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which will be loaded with Php3,000
food credits per month.
Based on data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are 1 million food-poor families needing government intervention for their food supplement.
Secretary Gatchalian said beneficiaries may use the food credits to purchase a select list of nutritious food commodities from DSWD-accredited local retailers such as the Kadiwa ng Pangulo, community markets, and agricultural cooperatives, among others.