LGUs responsible for issuing social protection orders

THE Department of Home Affairs and Local Government (DILG) has directed Local Government Units (LGUs) to enact their respective Welfare Ordinances to complete the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps) programme, including post-programme interventions for beneficiaries who have “graduated” from the program.

4Ps is part of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) National Poverty Reduction Strategy which provides conditional cash transfers to poor households for up to seven years.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año

In a statement on Friday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año explained that social protection does not end after a household “leaves” the 4P program, therefore “LGUs must ensure that a social support program is in place to help these families”.

He said the enactment of an ordinance to complete the 4Ps will ensure that they are relieved of poverty and remain non-poor even after the prescribed maximum period for the conditional cash grant.

“We do not want graduating 4P households to go back to square one. We therefore urge LGUs and their sanggunians (councils) to recognize that support for these families goes beyond the 4Ps through the enactment of an Ordinance of social protection providing social protection services for them and for other 4P households,” said Año.

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Año said a 4P beneficiary household is qualified to leave the Pantawid program when the last child followed in the household turns 19 or completes high school; the household reaches the seven-year duration of the program; the household is no longer poor based on the last assessment through the adopted standardized targeting system; the household voluntarily renounces its membership in the program; or the household commits offenses identified by the DSWD, for which the sanction is disbarment.

He added that the 4Ps use the Pantawid-Kilos-Unlad social case management strategy, a process to guide herders in 4P households to improve their well-being towards intensification (from survival to subsistence self-sufficiency) and escape from poverty. (exit from the program) over a seven-year operational period.

Año said a comprehensive local welfare ordinance complementing the 4Ps program should institutionalize a more sustainable welfare program for indigent Filipinos “ensuring that they are supported by both national and local governments even after leaving the Pantawid Pamilya program”.

DILG and DSWD recently signed Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) 2022-001 providing the guidelines in support of the 4Ps, following the implementation of full decentralization to LGUs this year in accordance with Executive Order (EO ) 38 signed by President Duterte.

Under the JMC DILG-DSWD, LGUs with identified 4P beneficiaries are encouraged to include 4P related programs and activities in the annual investment program, overall development plan and/or local action plan poverty reduction of LGUs; provide appropriate programmes, services and interventions to vulnerable groups and sectors within the framework of the 4Ps; assist with program evaluation and problem solving in coordination with Pantawid Pamilya staff; and facilitate and address identified supply-side gaps and health, nutrition and education concerns to enable beneficiaries to sustain program gains, among others.

4P and total deconcentration

Interior Under-Secretary Jonathan Malaya said that with the full delegation of certain functions to LGUs, as foreseen in EO 38 and the substantial increase in LGU shares from national taxes, in line with the Mandanas-Garcia Supreme Court decision, LGUs are empowered to provide basic services, such as social welfare services, to their constituents.

“LGUs are now in the best position to lift their constituents out of poverty through the 4Ps and other social protection services and programs. They now have all the tools and resources to break the vicious cycle of poverty in their localities “, did he declare.

Malaya said LGUs should prioritize supporting and funding pro-poor programs such as 4Ps in their localities as they play a crucial role in reducing hunger and poverty in the country.

“We urge our LGUs to support and continue what we started with the Pantawid program. With the 4Ps, LGUs can help poor households improve their lives in the areas of health, nutrition and education “, he said in English and Filipino.

Joel C. Hicks