Now enacted into law as Republic Act No. 11310, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps is the national poverty reduction strategy and human capital investment program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven (7) years, to improve the health, nutrition and education aspect of their lives.
Selection of qualified household-beneficiaries is through a standardized targeting system.
To be eligible for the program, identified poor and near poor households or families must be willing to comply with the conditions and meet the following criteria: (a) With 0-18 years old family member; and/or (b) with a pregnant family member at the time of registration. Farmers, fisherfolks, homeless families and indigenous peoples, informal settlers and those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas are automatically included in the standardized targeting system.
Day-care and Elementary students – P300/month for 10 months/year
Junior High School – P500/month for 10 months/year
Senior High School – P700/month for 10 months/year
Health grant shall not be lower than P750/month for a maximum period of 12 months. The health grant is a fixed amount and does not depend on the number of members in the household.
Automatic coverage under the National Health Insurance Program or PhilHealth.
Availment in the modalities of interventions from the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) or other similar programs offered by other government agencies or accredited private institutions.
Rice subsidy: Each compliant household is entitled to receive P600 per month or a total of P7,200 per year as directed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in 2017 during his first State of the Nation Address
UCT: With the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, a monthly subsidy amounting P300 for 2019 and 2020 is provided to active households of the program.
To be eligible for cash grants, beneficiaries must be willing to comply with the health and education conditions set in the “Oath of Commitment”.
Below are the following program conditions the beneficiaries must comply:
Children 3-4 years old must attend day care or pre-school at least 85% of the time;
Children 5-18 years old must attend elementary or secondary classes at least 85% of the total days of classes every month
Pregnant women must avail of pre-natal services, give birth in a health facility, attended by a skilled health professional, and receive post-partum care, and post-natal care for her newborn;
Children 0-5 years old must receive regular preventive health and nutrition services including check-ups and vaccinations;
Children 1-14 years old must avail of deworming pills at least twice a
At least one (1) responsible person must attend the Family Development Sessions at least once a month.
As members of the program, the partner beneficiaries are fully oriented and aware of their co-responsibilities and the consequences of their willful non-compliance to program conditions as manifested in their signed Panunumpa/ Oath of Commitment, which signifies their duty to comply with the conditions. When members of the program do not comply with all of the program conditions, they do not receive the cash transfers. Program implementers help them resolve the barriers impairing them from complying. The members' persistent failure to comply with ALL of the program conditions, resulting to non-receipt of cash transfers despite the efforts of the concerned program implementers to help them resolve the barriers impairing them from complying, may be taken to mean that the households are either no longer interested in the program, or are willfully not complying with their commitment to the program. (DSWD M.C. No. 36, 2020)
The Family Development Sessions (FDS) is a monthly parent group activity attended by the main grantee/s of the household, usually mothers, to enhance their parenting capabilities and encourage them to be more active citizens of the society.
4Ps is NOT a “dole-out” program. The transfer of cash grant to the beneficiaries under the program is CONDITIONAL— which means beneficiaries must comply with program conditions related to increasing human capital in order to continue receiving 4Ps grants.
The 4Ps grants serve specific objectives of keeping the children healthy and in school. A compliance verification system is in place and co-implemented with schools and health centers nationwide to monitor if the children are indeed attending school and taking up the necessary preventive health services.
The two 4Ps impact evaluations conducted on 2012 and 2014 have shown that there are more working adult members of household beneficiaries of the program compared to non-beneficiaries, and that more of them are looking for additional work. This is consistent with the international evidence in other conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs that giving cash transfers does not reduce labor force participation of the poor.
We should be conscious of the possible prejudice in thinking that the poor are poor because they are lazy to find and do actual work. Mostly, the poor are not able to go school (only 10% of 4Ps adult members are high school graduates), that is why their level of productivity is low and they could not get good-paying, long-term jobs.
As provided in the RA 11310, qualified-household beneficiaries are prioritized to avail the modalities of interventions from the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) or other similar programs offered by other government agencies or accredited private institutions. DSWD through SLP has already provided employment facilitation or livelihood grants to some 1.897 million (Dec. 2019) 4Ps beneficiaries.
Livelihood projects do not increase the human capital of the children, which is the main thrust of 4Ps. That is why the program conditions revolve around enabling children of poor families to get more years of education and get all the basic preventive health services. Even if all members of the program receive livelihood assistance, it is not guaranteed that it will get them out of poverty. Operating a business or livelihood regardless of size entails a lot of financial risks. Poor entrepreneurs are at a greater disadvantage in dealing with risk of business loss because they do not have much capital or savings in the first place.
This aphorism should be taken lightly when we speak of helping the current set of poor Filipinos. Before we decide to “teach how to fish” or to give jobs instead of cash transfers, we should recognize that only 10% of the 4Ps adult members are high school graduates. They have low human capital (educational attainment and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills) that is why they cannot be employed in decent paying jobs (that usually require a high school diploma) and they cannot sustain productive types of self-employment or livelihood.
NEDA in its launch of the 2015 Official Poverty Statistics said:
“One of the major factors in this improvement of poverty reduction is the increased budget in government’s social development programs, which significantly augmented the income of the poorest households… The regularity of the cash transfer sustained for three years for many CCT beneficiaries has accorded them some resiliency to weather certain shocks. The program also induced more economic activity in the poor barangays given the presence of a cash economy. These conditions may have also encouraged a number of them to diversify their livelihood sources.”
NEDA in its 2017 Socio-Economic Report mentions that:
“By far, the most comprehensive program to address [...] vulnerability is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). This program needs to be sustained and even enhanced”.
The World Bank in its 2018 assessment of poverty in the Philippines (Making Growth Work for the Poor) reports that “transfers from government social programs [CCT] contributed about 25 percent of the reduction [in poverty incidence between 2006 and 2015].”
The main pathway is through the accumulation of human capital which is long term. 4Ps intends to break the intergenerational transfer of poverty, helping poor families escape the poverty trap of being poor because they have no decent jobs or undereducated and sickly. Through investment in the education and health of the children of poor families today, we hope to see the next generation to be comprised of more children who have at least graduated from high school and have kept themselves healthy so that they become productive citizens who have greater chances of getting decent paying jobs than their parents.
The other pathway is short-term- 4Ps augments the income of the transitory poor whose income level could already have returned to above the poverty threshold because of the continuous receipt of grants.
4Ps keeps more children in school especially those in age cohorts at risk of dropping out.
4Ps children display more grit or determination in terms of school-related activities like asking for help when lesson was difficult, striving to get higher grades, and finishing school work before playing or resting.
Impact on Family Planning and Reproductive Health: 4Ps raises awareness and trial use of modern family planning methods among program beneficiaries.
Impact on Maternal Health: 4Ps increases the availment of prenatal care services and skilled birth attendance.
Impact on Child Health:
1. 4Ps increases access to child health care services
2. Regular weight monitoring among children 0-2 years old is higher among beneficiaries
3. Regular weight monitoring among 2 -5 years old is significantly higher among beneficiaries
4. Higher intake of Vitamin A within 6 months among beneficiaries
5. Positive impact on receiving deworming pills at least twice for school-aged 4Ps children
6. Higher likelihood of being fed with vegetables
The education grant of the program can only be given to the listed monitored child/children of a household. There is only a maximum of 3 children per household that can be monitored by the program.
Moreover, based on the results of the 4Ps impact evaluation, the average family size of both beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries is 7 members. This is consistent with the findings from impact evaluation of other countries’ CCT programs that show the continuous receipt of cash transfers does not induce higher fertility rate.
A qualified household beneficiary will exit from the program when –
The last monitored child in the household turns 19 years old;
The last monitored child in the household finishes high school;
The household reaches the 7-year duration in the Program;
The household is no longer poor, based on the latest assessment thru the adopted standardized targeting system;
The household voluntary waives its membership from the program; or
The household commits offenses wherein the sanction is delisting, subject to the standards developed by the DSWD.
Under the law, all household-beneficiaries will be subjected to social case management to facilitate and engage them in a mutually agreed intervention plan to support their compliance with the program conditions and achieve an improved level of well-being towards self-reliance which they will work on within the seven (7) year period of coverage.
The Exit/Graduation approach provides case-referral pathways for the next level intervention which is expected to help household beneficiaries become self-resilient; able to cushion impact of political, economic and social shocks; and empowered to access service providers.
All household-beneficiaries are assured of social protection, social assistance and social development services to usher them to “self-sufficiency level” after 7 years in the program.
The current household beneficiaries were identified through the use of a poverty targeting system called the Listahanan. Through the data generated, the system calculates the estimated annual per capita income of the households through the use of Proxy Means Test (PMT). The PMT yields estimates of household income. Because these are only estimates, it is only accurate in classifying who the poor and non-poor are to a certain degree, just like the PMTs used in CCT programs of other countries. As such it may misclassify some as poor (inclusion error) and non-poor (exclusion error).
4Ps is aware of these inclusion and exclusion errors that is why it established a grievance redress system to address related complaints. As of June 2019, it has already removed 30,536 households that were found to be non-poor.
Other reason for a poor household to not be included in the program is that they neither have children aged 0 – 14 years old or pregnant member at the time of Listahanan 1 household assessment. The program caters only to poor households that now have children 0 – 18 years old as a result of the extension of education grants to children 15 – 18 years old.