CCT proving to be poverty buster - NEDA
MANILA -- The Aquino administration has succeeded in its goal of improving the spending of poor households on health and education with the help of the government’s Conditional Cash-Transfer (CCT) Program, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has reported.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the spending patterns of beneficiaries of the CCT Program, or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), have shifted toward investing more in education and health.
Compared to non-beneficiaries, he added, the poor households covered by the program are now spending 36 percent more for their children’s education and 33 percent more for basic medical costs.
“As reported in the “Socioeconomic Report [SER]: 2010-2012,” preliminary indicators suggest that the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program is gaining ground in achieving its desired long-term outcomes of poverty reduction,” Balisacan, also the Neda director general, said.
For instance, the SER noted that CCT beneficiaries had higher insurance coverage through PhilHealth by 10 percent, while pregnant beneficiaries were more likely to avail themselves of routine healthcare also by 10 percent.
For basic education, the report said those aged 3-5 and 6-11 years old had higher enrolment rates in daycare (10 percent) and basic education (5 percent), respectively, compared to children not covered by the 4Ps.
Also, those aged 6-11 and 12-14 years-old under the program were more likely to attend regular classes by 4 percent and 5 percent, respectively, compared to those not covered by the CCT program.
“By investing in education and health, future generations from these households would be able to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty that has disabled them from living to their fullest potential, such as getting employed in quality jobs. The Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program is really a long-term investment, and the immediate progress we have initially seen affirms the program’s success in the coming years,” Balisacan said.
The 4Ps provides cash incentives to identified poor households after they comply with certain criteria, such as children’s regular attendance in schools and mothers’ regular visit to health clinics, among others.
The beneficiaries were rigorously selected through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), which determines the socioeconomic category of the households by looking at certain proxy variables such as ownership of assets, type of housing, education of the household head, livelihood and access to water and sanitation facilities.
Eligible households are those categorized as poor by the NHTS-PR, have children 0-14 years old or have a pregnant woman at the time of assessment or both, and agree to meet conditions specified in the program.
The SER reported that 3.01 million poor households were already covered by the program as of June 2012, exceeding the three million cumulative target by 2012 as set in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP): 2011-2016.
The beneficiaries’ compliance with the set conditions has been high at an average of 95.5 percent in 2011.
The Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD), which spearheads the CCT program, earlier cited the passing mark recently given to the program by international financial institutions amid lingering criticisms from different sectors that the 4Ps is a dole-out to poor families and being used by the government for its political purposes.
In a public forum hosted by the DSWD and some media personalities, institutions such as the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) commended the program after the department presented its impact evaluation for 2012.
The impact study was funded by WB and AusAID.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman thanked the evaluators and said the agency will continue to intensify the implementation of the program.
“The Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program is on track to achieve its objectives of promoting investments in the health and education of children while providing immediate financial support to poor families. I am pleased to know that the children of poor families are indeed enjoying better and improved access to education and better health service,” she said.
She explained that the program is aimed to reduce incidence of poverty.
At present, the DSWD said, there are three million poor families with more than six million children benefiting from the program. It has a budget of up to P44 billion for 2013 and this will increase to P47 billion in 2014. With Zaff Solmerin