The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), took center stage at the Asia-Pacific Social Protection Week (APSP), at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Manila on 26-28 September 2023. This regional event gathered social protection experts and practitioners, including decision-makers from across Asia and the Pacific, to address the challenges and opportunities presented by social protection in the post-COVID recovery and response to emerging crises.

With the theme “Social Protection in a Changing World,” APSP featured a program designed to share expertise and best practices from both regional and global perspectives. Discussions spanned a wide range of topics, including social protection policy, food security, economic inclusion, digital technology, health protection, humanitarian development links, among others. The event provided a platform for building alliances and networks to strengthen social protection systems in the Asia-Pacific region.

During the third and final day, Director Gemma Gabuya of 4Ps National Program Management Office along with other participating countries in the region, shared the practice and experience of the 4Ps in laying the foundation for and institutionalizing the program towards sustainable development.

Dir.Gabuya shared that the program adopts a multisectoral approach, involving various government agencies, to ensure effective implementation and achievement of its objectives. She explained that at both institutional and household levels, mechanisms and practices are in place to provide a holistic approach to poverty reduction. These include family development sessions, social case management, and the utilization of the Social Welfare and Development Indicators (SWDI) Tool to identify risks and vulnerabilities.

In terms of sustainability, Dir. Gabuya emphasized that the 4Ps program has implemented substantial measures to safeguard its achievements. “To ensure the program’s sustainability, the program pushed its institutionalization through the Republic Act No. 11310, otherwise known as the 4Ps Act on 19 April 2019. There is a policy/legal framework,” she said. 

Dir.Gabuya also highlighted the program’s collaborations with diverse government agencies and private sectors, which prioritize 4Ps graduates in other social protection initiatives, guaranteeing their ongoing support. “There are also inter-agency data sharing agreements that promote collaboration and synergy among partners with Civil Society Organizations, International Development Partners, National Government Agencies, and private sectors – from the national level down to the municipal level.”

Moreover, Dir. Gabuya also stressed how driving and sustaining behavioral change are central to the program’s approach. She shared how social case management, the use of SWDI Tool, and transformative learning programs, including family development sessions, equip beneficiaries with the knowledge and skills needed to graduate from the program successfully.

The 4Ps, likewise, participated in the APSP exhibit featuring the remarkable work of Filipino photographer Francisco Guerrero. The booth not only showcased Guerrero’s intimate and humane photography, which eloquently captures the everyday lives of 4Ps beneficiaries, but also provided a platform for engaging attendees in insightful conversations about 4Ps and related topics.

The participation of the DSWD’s 4Ps program at the Asia-Pacific Social Protection Week underscores the program’s dedication to its mission. By actively participating in events like APSP and collaborating with regional and global experts, the 4Ps program reaffirms its commitment to driving positive change and creating a brighter future for the beneficiaries it serves. This engagement is not just a one-time effort but part of an ongoing journey to make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Filipinos.