Chiz: Review 4Ps
amid rising poverty incidence
December 21, 2021
SORSOGON – Sorsogon
Gov. Chiz Escudero is urging the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) to review its roster of beneficiaries under the
Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as poverty incidence in
the country rose for the first time since 2012.
Escudero, a veteran
legislator and now provincial chief executive, said there should
have been a substantial increase in the budget for 4Ps in the 2022
budget ratified by Congress and submitted to the President.
Under the proposed
National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022, P115.7 billion was
allocated for 4Ps, the same as its 2021 budget of P115.6 billion.
The 4Ps is the government’s main poverty reduction program through
conditional cash transfer for the poorest families.
“Now is not the time to be
scrimping on economic assistance for the poor because millions of
Filipinos are still struggling with the impact of the pandemic, and
we do not expect recovery anytime soon, if we’re being realistic,”
Escudero, a senatorial aspirant, said.
During the Senate’s budget
deliberations, it was revealed that 51,000 families have graduated
from 4Ps, which covers some 4.4 million poor Filipino families. At
54%, the 4Ps account for the biggest chunk of the DSWD budget.
“There seems to be a
disconnect in government poverty data and poverty strategy. There
are over 10 million Filipinos who cannot afford to put food on the
table and 4.2 million working-age Filipinos who do not have jobs.
The DSWD should review its list of 4Ps beneficiaries because data
show that more Filipinos are poor and need assistance,” Escudero
The latest Family Income
and Expenditures Survey (FIES) of the Philippine Statistics
Authority (PSA) found that poverty incidence has gone up to 23.7% in
the first half of 2021. The PSA defines poverty incidence as the
“proportion of poor Filipinos whose per capita income is not
sufficient to meet their basic food and non-food needs.”
This means 26.14 million
Filipinos lived below the poverty threshold of P12,082 monthly for a
family of five in 2021, almost 2 million more than the 22.26 million
poor Filipinos in 2018, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was the first time
poverty incidence went up since the 2012 first-half FIES. Poverty
incidence in the Philippines for the first-semester FIES was at
27.9% in 2012; 27.6% in 2015; and 21.1% in 2018, according to the
Subsistence incidence, or
the proportion of Filipinos whose income is insufficient to meet
even the basic food needs, was at 9.9%, translating to 10.94 million
Filipinos who could not afford to feed their families. The 2021 FIES
pegged the monthly food threshold for a family of five at P8,393.
“Marami ang nawalan ng
trabaho dahil sa pandemya. Marami ang nagkasakit at namatayan. Ang
kailangan ng mga Pilipino ay tulong at pag-asa. How can we
strengthen the 4Ps with the same budget? How can we help local
governments provide better services to the people as they strive to
recover?” Escudero said.
A survey by the Social
Weather Stations, released in September 2021, found that only 1 in 5
Filipinos, or 21%, do not consider themselves poor; 34% feel they
are borderline poor; and 45% or 11.4 million families feel they are
impoverished. Of those who rated themselves poor, 6.9% or 1.7
million households were “newly poor,” meaning they did not consider
themselves poor at least a year ago.