Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has welcomed her Senate colleagues’ proposal to conduct a performance audit of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to plug it of any loopholes and discuss other pertinent issues.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said a Senate review of the 4Ps program can provide them with meaningful insights to make the program more effective in combatting poverty.
“As its principal sponsor at the Senate, along with the co-authors of the bill and our counterparts at the House of Representatives, I deem it absolutely imperative to implement this program properly, given its committed results, the resources we have invested, and the positive impacts it has already delivered,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 513.
“Welcome na welcome po ang review ng 4Ps na panukala ng ating mga kasamahan sa Senado. Tunay po itong napapanahon at kapaki-pakinabang para sa lahat,” she added.
Sponsored and authored by De Lima, Senate Bill No. 2117 or the measure institutionalizing the 4Ps has been approved on third and final reading at the Senate last February. Its counterpart measure, House Bill (HB) No. 7773, was also approved at the House of Representatives in August 2018.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, along with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Gringo Honasan II, have earlier proposed to conduct a performance audit or review of the 4Ps program to check how its proper and effective implementation.
Touted a national poverty reduction strategy and a human capital investment program, the 4Ps provides conditional cash transfer (CCT) to poor households for a maximum of seven years to improve their health, nutrition and access to education.
“The enrolled copy of the 4Ps bill sent to Malacañang [c]ontains marked improvements that address key implementation issues and gaps of the program, such as making it more inclusive to farmers and fisherfolk, strengthening its livelihood and employment intervention, improved conditionalities for availment, and limiting the years of membership in the program to 7 years,” De Lima explained.
The lady Senator from Bicol said she hopes the performance review of the program can finally address the alleged failure of some beneficiaries of 4Ps under the CCT scheme to receive their cash grants that are supposed to assist them with their health, education and other basic needs.
“The failure of those funds to reach qualified beneficiaries is a serious case of negligence that we cannot afford to have as many of our countrymen are in dire need of financial assistance,” said the former justice secretary.
Last year, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 850 which seeks to inquire into the ₱1.323 billion unwithdrawn amount of the 4Ps for a period ranging from 30 to 2,190 days after payout.
De Lima maintained that proper implementation of 4Ps can help improve the daily lives of qualified indigent Filipino families who perpetually suffer from inherited poverty.
“Our obligation as the hands that help guide the future of our nation is to no longer allow the poor to die poor. We start at something – and we start with this,” she said.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, there is a staggering 23.1 million Filipinos who are still identified as poor despite a slight decline in the country’s poverty incidence for the first semester of 2018.
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