New funding to help boost health and education outcomes among poor families
MANILA, NOVEMBER 28, 2019 — The Philippine Government and the World Bank signed today a US$300 million loan to provide additional funding for the Philippines’ Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), a conditional cash transfer program currently benefiting 4.2 million households.
This new funding will finance cash transfers to poor households for a period of two years to help them invest in children’s human capital. It will also provide technical assistance to the Philippine government to help strengthen implementation and impact of the program, including more efficient payment systems, monitoring and evaluation, and family development sessions.
“4Ps has been critical in reducing poverty and promoting human capital accumulation of children from poor families in the Philippines,” said Mara K. Warwick, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. “By making cash transfers conditional upon health checks of pregnant women and young children, school attendance among school-aged children, and participation in family development sessions, the program has significantly improved health and educational outcomes of poor and vulnerable families. We are proud to support programs such as this that help millions of families overcome poverty.”
Since 2008, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been providing cash grants to 4Ps beneficiaries to ensure that children stay healthy and in school, thus reducing school dropout rates, discouraging child labor, and enabling them to break free from poverty in adulthood. Pregnant mothers receiving grants are required to get pre- and post-natal checks to help ensure safe motherhood. Parents attend “family development sessions” where they strengthen their knowledge of child care and are empowered to demand better and expanded social services from the government.
The annual budget for the 4Ps is US$1.7 billion. The additional funding from the World Bank will cover 9 percent of the 4Ps budget through June 2022.
The World Bank has been supporting 4Ps over the last decade. In 2016, the World Bank approved a $450-million funding to help finance the health and education grants for CCT beneficiaries from 2016 to 2019, covering about seven percent of the total cost of the program’s implementation.
Implemented in 145 cities and 1,483 municipalities in the country, the 4Ps is responsible for a quarter of total poverty reduction in the country, according to the World Bank 2018 Poverty Assessment. Other achievements based on a series of evaluations include:
- Increases in school enrollment of older children, early childhood education of younger children, and health seeking behaviors of beneficiaries;
- Increased access by poor women to maternal and child health services such as antenatal care and facility-based deliveries; and
- Increased access to health and nutrition services (Vitamin A, iron supplementation, deworming pills), as well as regular weight monitoring in health centers.
Of the total number of active beneficiary households, 41 percent are from Luzon, 21 percent from Visayas, and 38 percent from Mindanao, with the largest number of beneficiaries coming from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Around 15 percent of the beneficiaries are members of indigenous communities.
On 17 April 2019, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11310, institutionalizing the 4Ps and providing higher cash benefits for all beneficiaries. The law aims to “break the intergenerational cycle of poverty through investment in human capital and improvement of delivery of basic services to the poor, particularly education, health and nutrition.”
Over the last decade, the Philippines has been building its social protection system. Besides the 4Ps, the government is updating the social registry of poor households through DSWD’s national household targeting system (Listahanan). It has also expanded its social pension program, and has provided livelihood opportunities for the poor, including food and other subsidies to compensate for higher inflation, and it is promoting use of emergency cash transfers to respond to natural disasters.