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The Political and Socioeconomic Prevalence of Poverty in the Philippines: In


Supplement to the Implementation of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and its
Transnational Counterparts: A Case Study
By: Atayde, Garri & Serrano, Christian
Poverty in the Philippines
Poverty is considered to be the most terrible enemy of the society. The struggle to
eliminate beggary remains a methodical way of living to some of our compatriots. In the
Philippines, it is labeled as the states biggest challenge. Throughout the last four decades, the
fraction of households living under the poverty line has declined slowly, so as the
implementation of poverty reduction policies has become much slower than our neighboring
countries particularly Vietnam and Thailand. The extent of economic growth is considered as
one of the major determinants of a countrys status in defense to poverty in which the Philippines
seems to be stagnant (ADB, 2009).
According to the Asian Development Bank (2009), there are numerous cases which
trigger poverty in the Philippines. Aside from a lead-footed economy, it is also compounded by
the inability of the government to generate employment, poor development of the agricultural
sector, social cleavages in terms of income, recurrence of natural disasters, and massive
population growth. The findings also posit that economic growth in the Philippines was not able
to translate a favorably remarkable resonance to the commonplace. In a more extensive
engagement, some Filipinos attribute the unyielding aura of poverty to the government itself;
whereas, the endless issues of corruption seem to conglomerate the negative retrospect of the
populous with regards to its complications. Some have also provided negative evaluations in the
government upon its failure to respond to subsequent social issues which are progressive until
today.

The MDG & CCT (4P) in the Philippine Setting


Throughout the years, the Philippine government, in cooperation of other organizations,
has been reinventing programs that would help incur poverty alleviation. One example is the
Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations Development Program. The program
engages enhanced cooperation with the Philippine government through partnership with the civil

and private sectors. The program aims to transpire a lowered poverty incidence from 26.5% of
2009 down to 16.6% by 2015 quantitatively implying 10 million Filipinos to mitigate their
horrendous socioeconomic conditions prior to the aforementioned timetable (UNDP, 2009).
The methodology on the program execution goes through different dynamics. This
includes resource mobilization, entrepreneurial mechanism (microfinance), institutional
integration, convergence in remote targeted areas, and amplifying the support coming from the
private sector. The program is on-going and the results are anticipated to incur a significant
reduction of poverty by the succeeding year (-10%). The program, as per cogitation, generally
hits on basic education and healthcare services. The particularities of the discussion regarding
this program remain stationary as the designated timeframe gets near.
In response to filthy empiricism, international efforts have been initiated to establish
concrete policies that would help minimize destitution. One prominent program that has been
implemented internationally is the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (abbreviated as CCT).
CCT is a program that aims to incur poverty reduction with utmost prioritization in welfare
programs methodologically through transferring cash to the underprivileged sector. This serves
as a help to selected beneficiaries in order for them to attain stability towards their social
environment. The Philippine concept of CCT (4Ps) was adapted in Latin America believing that
the program has already been proven effective and tested based on the statistics consolidated
therewith (Reyes & Tabuga, 2012). Aside from the Philippines, the CCT is also practiced in other
countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua, Indonesia, and other states globally.
The program, focusing on the Philippine setting, generally aims to eliminate extreme
poverty by providing financial allocations to poor families and by assisting them in terms of
health and education. Such service is available to families having members with ages ranging
from 0-14 (DSWD, 2009:2, para. 9, Annex B). The DSWD has provided key pillars in order to
substantiate the essence of the program. These include economic growth through generating
employment, economic growth through establishing concrete mechanisms allowing capability
enhancement, and minimum well-being by guaranteeing social protection (DSWD, 2009:1, para.
1, Annex A). The common framework of the CCT is to transmit both monetary and nonmonetary subsidies (i.e. maternal services, schooling) to the poorest families with children under
schooling age provided that they must meet the criteria through assessment that will be carried
out by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) (Cecchini &

Madariaga, 2011; cited in Reyes & Tabuga, 2012:2, para. 4). The objective of the program is to
avoid the intergenerational transmission of poverty as the government provides immediate
financial assistance to the household (DSWD, 2009:2, para. 8, Annex B). Intergenerational
transmission in this context means that the beneficiaries shall not pass similar social class to the
generation succeeding them for they are already aided by the government so as to not let these
beneficiaries stuck under the same line. Imperatively, it is also pivotal to avoid the recurrence of
pure household deficit. In addition, the 4Ps has the ultimate goal of empowering the poor as to
improve their way of life. This in turn gives major importance to equality and social security.
Expounding on the nationwide statistics, based on the data provided by NHTS-PR, there
are 5.2 million Filipino households purged into poverty. The data were consolidated upon 2009
report of the National Statistics Office (NSO) backed up by its 2006 population census. In which,
upon assessment, 4.3 million households were categorized as the poorest of the poor. These
households pinned within the given category were deemed eligible to enroll under 4Ps.
Unfortunately, the DSWD cannot accommodate all these numbers and so they just initially
apportioned the beneficiaries by groups; wherein, the program recipients were divided into five
(5) batches. These factions were increasingly registered annually. The program preliminarily
started with households covering a total number of 340,391. Upon implementation, the first
batch of beneficiaries, who first received monetary compensations in 2008, had already
graduated last 2013. These beneficiaries will no longer get any subsidy from the government
regardless of their needs for contingent support from the state (Villanueva, 2012).
The preliminary implementation of Pantawid Pamilya in 2008 has become an avenue for
the government to overturn its jurisdiction as to maximize its measures in proliferating social
protection. The latter is directly consistent and deemed with optimal relevance to Millennium
Development Goals of the UNDP; whereas, the program likewise utilizes the bureaucratic
impositions of the authority as to education, poverty reduction, health (including maternal),
reduction of child mortality, and promotion of gender equality (DSWD, 2009; cited from
Chaudhurt, Friedman, & Onishi, 2013). As of June 2014, The Pantawid Pamilya now operates in
4,090,667 registered households nationwide (54% increase across years of implementation)
(PIA, 2014). The program was proposed predominantly by the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD). Along with DSWD, other inter-agency committees are also employed to
assist in organizing and ensuring the overall appraisal of the program. These committees include

the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), National Anti-Poverty Commission


(NAPC), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM),
Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Education (DepEd).

Operational Mechanisms
The Pantawid Pamilya program operates in a way of providing financial assistance
amounting to PHP 6,000 annually (500 pesos per month).1 The subsidy is intended primarily to
be spent for health and nutrition expenses. In addition, the beneficiary is annually (10 months)
given a special concession of PHP 3,000 to be used for educational expenses (Reyes & Tabuga,
2012:3). This subsidy is distributed per child with three (3) children as the maximum allotment.
The loan generally comes from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The loan costs up
to $400M and $405 M respectively so as the debt. The cash allowance is centrally processed in
national level through the Project Management Office (PMO) and is then transferred to Land
Bank Batasan office for inter-branch distribution (DSWD, 2009:4, para. 13-14).2 The cash is
then released to the beneficiary through any branch of Land Bank of the Philippines via its cash
card facility.
As to the title of the program, there are certain conditions provided in exchange to these
subsidies. According to the concept paper published by DSWD (2009:4), it is stipulated that
pregnant women must avail of pre- and post- natal care and be attended with a well-trained
health professional upon delivery. The parents must also attend family development sessions.
Children aged 0-5 years are entitled to receive regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines,
3-5 year old children are obliged to attend day care and/or preschool classes with a ceiling
percentage of at least 85% attendance. Children aged 6-14 years must enroll in elementary and/or
high school and must comply with the required percentage of deportment. It also requires for
children of that age (6-14) to receive and consume de-worming pills at least twice a year.
The selected beneficiaries will continue to receive government provided allowance as
long as these recipients abide to the preconditions agreed upon. Such agreement is effective for
at most five years. These conditions are rendered normatively in attempt to substantially regulate
1 The compensation can reach to a maximum of 1,400 pesos monthly provided that the maximum
threshold of children (3) covered under the policy is attained.
2 The loan originates from the Asian Development Bank (cited from Oya, 2011, Vox Bikol News).

social problems that remain persistent until today such as malnutrition, alarming infant, child,
and maternal mortality rates, delineation of student deportment particularly in public schools
causing increased instances of drop-outs and low rates of completion to both primary and
secondary schools, and elevated predominance of child labor.
The beneficiaries are selected by DSWD among the poorest municipalities using the 2003
Small Area Estimates (SAE) of poverty incidence certified by the National Statistical
Coordination Board (NSCB).3 Municipalities with a poverty incidence of more than 50% of the
aggregate of its population are covered collectively. This connotes that all families residing in
that particular municipality will all be assessed as to gauge their eligibility. In contrast, when a
municipality has an aggregate poverty incidence of less than 50%, pockets of poverty are
determined by the municipal social welfare and development officer. Families under the pocket
are interviewed and evaluated as to measure their eligibility to avail the service. Guidelines for
eligibility include having an income that is equal or inferior to the provincial poverty line
(roughly >5.7K income/mo), having children aged 0-14 years and/or a pregnant woman at the
time of assessment, and willingness to comply with the conditions proposed under the program.
In obtaining data throughout provinces, the DSWD uses the National Household
Targeting System for Poverty Reduction. On the other hand, the 2007 data from National AntiPoverty Commission (NAPC) are used to determine and select cities with large pockets of
poverty. Identification of poor families is materialized through a Proxy Means Test (DSWD,
2009:14, para. 60). This procedure is estimated using statistics from the 2006 Family Income
and Expenditure Survey and the 2006 Labor Survey.
The assessment includes variables like assets, housing, educational attainment of the
household head (breadwinner), and access to sanitary facilities. Such attributes are used in order
to assess the highest possible income a family has. In order to ensure that the beneficiaries
adhere to the conditions of the program, the DSWD has its advisory committee which conducts
verification procedures every month. Such mechanism is called the Compliance Verification
System (CVS).

3 Kagawad Roy Lozano Ogurida, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Barangay Cutcut,
Angeles City, October 18, 2011, http://barangaycutcut.blogspot.com/2011/10/pantawid-pamilyangpilipino-program-4ps.html (accessed September 28, 2014).

Internal Issues
The Perils of Loan Acquisition
The loan used for the implementation of 4Ps is not actually a fund disbursed solely by the
government. The main loan for the program actually comes from the World Bank and the Asian
Development Bank with the cost amounting to $400 Million and $405 Million respectively. The
Malacanang defended, however, that the loan from the WB and ADB is not deemed to be spent
in 4Ps alone. The loan is allotted for other expenditures of the government focusing on poverty
reduction mechanisms. It just happened that the 4Ps got the highest subsidy among other
programs amounting to 21 Billion pesos in 2011 as allotted by the General Appropriations Act. A
substantial proportion of it funded with loans coming from the World Bank and the Asian
Development Bank. Such amount ($805M) is presumed to be an additional burden to the Filipino
people as the money purposely carried out for loans will have its repayment through the tax
levied from the citizens. That is, contrary to the popular knowledge that the loan originates solely
from the National Budget. The $405-million World Bank loan under its Social Welfare and
Development Reform Project permits for a 25-year repayment period including the 10-year grace
period. This means that the Philippines will have to initially pay its first remittance in 2020, and
finish sufficing the paying requirements by 2034, or after three more presidents, apart from
Aquino, would have served their full terms. On the other hand, the $400-million ADB loan needs
to be paid in 20 years. This includes a 5 years grace period. The government will have to start
paying the ADB loan in March 2016 and continue to do so twice a year until September 2035.
According to Katipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), the program may
substantiate the temporary drawbacks of poverty but it cannot replenish the long-term benefits of
stable job and decent incomes. The quantitative target of 4.3 million beneficiaries is few
compared to the aggregate population of poor Filipinos. The government is paying 1 peso for
every 4 pesos in cash given out and is paying 5 USD for every 4 USD in foreign loans acquired.
It is therefore argued that this program is described as unsustainable, expensive, and a typical

form of social relief without transcendental reforms. 4 Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
executive director Milo Tanchuling also criticized the fiscal extent of the program wherein poor
Filipinos are the ones that would most likely suffer in the long run. The FDC asserts that it would
be more efficient if the fund would originate on locally sourced funds and apportion beneficiaries
on a more incremental basis so as to avoid interlocking circumstances such as the shortage of
budget (De Guia, 2011).
Meanwhile, the program makes the country vulnerable to the dictates of the WB and
ADB that grant loans crippled in unjust and unfavorable terms. Aside from having a lead-footed
economy, it is also situated that the submissive attitude of our government to foreign interest
might compromise where in fact, this is considered as one of the major considerations in
precedence to the program. In addition, it has been a critical observation that the government
relies on foreign investments and markets evident that it will accentuate free trade agreement,
amplified privatization through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), and continually stunned to
neoliberal socioeconomic frameworks that would proliferate marginalization among Filipino
families by assenting the collective interest of the economic giants rather than discerning the
grievances of the common people.
The Minimal Intervention of the Local Government Unit
The unclearly stipulated function of the Local Government Units is one of the most
criticized contentions in connection to the implementation of the 4Ps. It is contemplated that
there seems to be a disparity when it comes to the participation of the LGUs. The national
government mainly functions as a super advisory body and the primary activities are executed in
regional and barangay levels.5 The propagation of social welfare is one of the major functions of
4 De Guia, Patnubay, Aquinos Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program as a stratagem to alleviate poverty
is not freedom from but a shackle that locks up the Filipino people to abject poverty, Philippine
Revolution Web Central, July 24, 2011,
http://www.philippinerevolution.net/statements/20110704_aquino-s-pantawid-pamilyang-pilipinoprogram-as-a-stratagem-to-alleviate-poverty-is-not-freedom-from-but-a-shackle-that-locks-up-thefilipino-people-to-abject-poverty, (accessed October 16, 2014)
5 Sealza, Isaias S., Conditional Cash Transfer: Issues on Structure, Process and Intended Beneficiaries,
2013,
http://www.academia.edu/5142809/Conditional_Cash_Transfer_Issues_on_Structure_Process_and_Intend
ed_Beneficiaries_?login=&email_was_taken=true (accessed October 16, 2014)

the government. This was then decentralized to the LGUs through the Local Government Code
of 1992. Theoretically, regions are considered as administrative and not as political subdivisions
of the country; whereas, the project director of the 4Ps regional team is forced to work with the
LGUs and the Local Chief Executive to implement the program. However, the central claim here
is that the role of the LGUs here is mainly advisory for the regional team. The institutional
mechanism conductively focuses on the regional level and not on the LGUs which are supposed
to be the frontlines of implementation by virtue of its mandated function. The analysis logically
comes to the recommendation that the program must also be denominated to the Local
Government Units in a way that it must serve as a passageway of program implementation and
monitoring and not as a sole advisory entity. In response to the latter, some inscriptions suggest
that it is better that the program does not take the engagement of the LGUs for it might insinuate
political patronage.
This has been considered as an administrative nightmare; whereas, alternative measures
have been taken by the DSWD in order to shield the program from any political interference.
This is best reflected during the 2010 National Elections where some candidates tried to sway the
beneficiaries to vote in their favor, citing removal from the program as an implication to such
unfavorable votes.6 Some political aspirants have even intervened with Family Development
Sessions as to divulge their respective political pronouncements. These political activities
prompted the DSWD to temporarily stop all CCT-related activities as of the time. This
realistically shows a reflective attitude accumulating a system of local patronage that the poor
and local politicians have been used to. The bottom 20 percent of the population rely on these
authorities to tide (suffice) them over. According to Dinky Soliman, the inception of the 4Ps puts
an end to local patronage by ceasing wholesome dependence to these politicians especially
during circumstantial periods (i.e. emergencies). In other terms, this has been carved as a major
mechanism to depoliticize the 4Ps in the local level. Such likewise explains the non-existence of
4Ps under the implementation schemes of the DSWD for the LGUs.
To give a shimmering glow to the exclusion of the LGUs, the rule of law actually
prevents 4Ps funds to be used as an instrument of corruption for it is stipulated under the General
Appropriations Act that No DSWD employee/officer, CCT secretariat and local government
6 The political perils of the 4Ps, The PCIJ Blog, June 2, 2011, http://pcij.org/blog/2011/06/02/thepolitical-perils-of-the-%E2%80%984ps%E2%80%99 (accessed October 16, 2014)

official shall directly handle funds intended for cash grant. This precisely explains the absence
of breakdown of funds to the LGUs knowing the fact that it comprises the faade of the program
in devolving the implementation of Pantawid Pamilya.
Code NGOs
As Dinky Soliman goes back on the track, she had encumbered lots of collective
interpolations not just regarding her first stint as the secretary of the department, but also with
the controversial Peace Bond. This should be a common ground of interest on the part of the
Aquino administration for an explanation would be highly significant as to clarify such
controversy. The Peace Bond carries out the burden of tracing the funds to pay the 35 B PHP
including the worth of maturing obligations from the issued 10 B bonds in 2001. The Peace
Bond was a fund-raising sequence for non-governmental organizations ripened by the NGO of
the NGOs such as the Code-NGO (Caucus of Development of NGO Networks). These affiliated
organizations aim to help prior to the implementation of the government programs especially
those that are relative to poverty reduction. These interlocking NGOs and CSOs are deemed to
help in imposing the program especially on its Monitoring and Evaluation and the Grievance
Redress System (GRS). This was the prescribed mechanism of Dinky Soliman to suffice the
roots of private institutional convergence though it laid a chain reaction due to multifarious
controversies such as the transmission of funds and the presumed existence of pseudo NGOs.
The predominant initiators of this scheme include Dinky Soliman and her husband lawyer
Hector Soliman, and Ging Deles, another member of the Arroyo administration returning as a
key officer for the incumbent regime. In addition, there was also an active participation of
Marissa Camacho-Reyes (sister of former finance secretary Lito Camacho), and Danny Songco
as one of the principals of the Code-NGO. The involvement of Soliman to the issue is highly
evident where in fact, former President Arroyo acknowledged the role of Soliman and the like
during EDSA 2 and, of course, her administration during the 3 rd National Congress of the CodeNGO. The inception of the latter was a triumphant stratagem to induce supplementary profits. As
the pre-designated channel for the sales of Peace Bond, the secondary market code NGO earned
a packet increase of 1.48 B. As to sustain the operation, the Code-NGO retained 10 percent for
its endowment fund, while the remaining fraction has been transferred to Peace Equity Access

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for Community Empowerment Foundation (PEF). Upon investigation, Senator Osmena had
noticed the inclusion of Soliman and her husband as part of the latter.7
In correlation to its core objective of assisting in social protection mechanisms, the
National Anti-Poverty Commission recently confirmed that it gave 8 Billion pesos to the officers
of the Code-NGO as for poverty alleviation purposes. 8 The first portion was released to CodeNGO in the last quarter of 2012 though NAPC Secretary Rocamora did not exactly affirm the
exact amount that had been disbursed thereto. In addition, one factor that led to maturation was
the failure of the precedent administration (Gloria Arroyo) to collect taxes from these NonGovernment Organizations.9
According to Santiago (2010), the issue regarding the Code-NGO was certainly a
remarkably definitive capitalist coup. The way Marissa Camacho et al used their connections,
managed to exploit the government treasury, and the disillusionment of the banking system to
make more than a billion pesos for poverty alleviation. Notwithstanding, there is nothing heroic
or evolutionary about it because it changes nothing in the long-term. The bottom line is that it is
just another double chambered scheme of the rich. It helps the poor but at the same time; it shafts
them by indirectly succoring the government to submerge even more to debt to the extent that the
poor will consequently suffer. The fact is, the elites in this country have been mired for a long
time with the intramural oxymoron of donating to the poor with a single hand and contributing to
their poverty with the other.
Manner of Selection of Beneficiaries
Throughout the years of implementation, the 4Ps has been criticized in a way that it
consolidates the list of beneficiaries to be enrolled. The problems constitute various parameters
most notably the existence of non-eligible beneficiaries in some municipalities in the country.
The said case has been addressed already by the DSWD through its Grievances Redress System
7 Capino, Alvin, Peace Bond ghost to haunt Soliman, Stuart Santiago, June 22, 2010,
http://stuartsantiago.com/dinky-soliman-ngos-peace-bonds/ (accessed October 16, 2014)
8 Porcalla, Delon, Code-NGO gets P8 M from Palace, Philstar.com, October 15, 2013,
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/10/15/1245424/code-ngo-gets-p8-m-palace (accessed October
16, 2014)
9 A network of 12 national and regional development NGOs with more than 1,600 affiliated organizations
nationwide.

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(GRS). Moreover, in accordance to the report of the Commission on Audit (COA), there were
provinces with lower poverty incidence which were given preference over those with higher
poverty incidence without any documents to prove that those selected were poorer than the
others.10 Additionally, the percentage of poor households in provincial level was not considered
in the determination of targeted beneficiaries per province. Simply put, provinces with enormous
degree of poverty incidence were either not justifiably covered or not covered entirely. The
DSWD defended that all provinces were currently covered. The clamor may be true but the
contention will arrive on the findings that there were no available documents needed in order to
validate that those households that deserve more to avail of the program were given much
priority.
Moreover, the discussion may also arrive to the extent of deficiencies in terms of the
frontline database of the program. The statistical methodology of the DSWD seems to be
inefficient in providing realistic empiricism in order to trace the ideal beneficiaries. There were
presumed instances of inadequacy primarily on the validation process of the household
information as well as the incidental occurrences of errors on PMT. This has resulted to the
ascending orientation of non-eligible households. The highest instance was recorded in Region V
with a total of 64 household beneficiaries. Again, in order to revitalize the system, the DSWD
has cleaned up the database by means of utilizing the GRS in order to categorically exclude the
said fraction. According to COA, however, the DSWD failed to submit a formal document that
would suffice the claim that they (DSWD) have already delisted a significant number of
beneficiaries though the latter initially claimed the removal of at most 55% of the aggregate
number of these beneficiaries. Aside from discrepancies on selection process, problems in terms
of database bring effect to the inception of double-entry beneficiaries; whereas, due to some
errors in the computer systems, some beneficiaries have their names listed separately though
belonging under a single family. According to Dinky Soliman, they have already undertaken
subsequent procedures in order to clean up the main list of the beneficiaries.
Another drawback sets forth the insufficiency of the program in terms of data-gathering.
That is, there were criticisms pinpointing the reliability of the statistical bases used by the
10 Special Audits Office, Conditional Cash Transfer Program/Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps),
Commission
on
Audit,
November29,
2011,
http://www.coa.gov.ph/phocadownloadpap/userupload/gwsp/spa/SAO_Report2010-06_CCTP_4Ps.pdf (accessed
October 16, 2014)

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DSWD in determining the poorest eligible beneficiaries. For instance, the DSWD uses the 2003
Small Area Estimates of the NSCB which is detrimental for it is empirically outdated. 11 To
update the conventional statistics, the National Statistical Coordination Board had released the
2009 Small Area Estimates.12
The data was published in 2012 with the cooperation of the World Bank. The Small Area
Estimates is published every three years though the NSCB was not able to finish the 2006
estimates until January 2013 for they were prioritizing the 2009 data in order to help the DSWD
along with its National Housing Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR). The
update goes with other components of the estimate such as the Family Income and Expenditures
Survey and Labor Survey which contain similar statistical figures as to year.

Comparative Approach: Aquino & Arroyo Administration


In the first glance, former President Arroyo was delighted on the stance of President
Aquino to continue the implementation of the CCT. Arroyo, nonetheless, provided some
retroactive recommendations as the program goes at the peak of implementation. It specifically
renders the attribution of considering pump-priming. Arroyos allies hope that the Aquino
administration will continue the Arroyo administrations pump priming under a manageable
deficit level instead of totally bringing down costs at the expense of social services - though they
insisted that they are not compelling the President to conform to their suggested economic
policy. The president still has his freewill on the implementation of such.
President Aquino pointed out that his administration is going to strengthen
socioeconomic policies giving substantive importance to education, health, and housing like the
Conditional Cash Transfer Program. Some critics, however, argue that it stays to be a generic
initiative any President can offer. There is no remarkable difference on the implementation stance
of CCT during the term of former President Arroyo in comparison to the 4Ps of the incumbent
administration. Moreover, reports from The Daily Tribune say that despite the wonted cash
transfer dole outs, the spine of hunger among Filipino households was recorded at its highest
11 The 2003 Small Area Estimates were released in 2008.
12 Virola, Romulo A., Porverty Reduction: Successful Municipalities, Philippine Statistical Authority National
Statistical
Coordination
Board,
August
13,
2012,
http://www.nscb.gov.ph/headlines/StatsSpeak/2012/081312_rav_sae.asp (accessed October 16, 2014).

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since December 2009.13 Notwithstanding the criticisms from the precedent administration,
Aquinos government is vigorous to do its commitment to incur reduction in poverty statistics. A
commentary also suggested that if the current slate wants to do something different, then there
must be sort of bureaucratic alterations on the part of the executive and legislative departments;
whereas, they should get rid of the amount of those non-programmed and audit-free Presidential
Pork Barrel Fund (otherwise labeled as the Presidents Social Fund) 14 a thing which had
actually transpired recently. The national government declared its renouncement of the
Legislative Pork Barrel as well as the Presidents Fund. It was incidentally followed by the
declaration of the Supreme Court on the Disbursement Acceleration Program as unconstitutional.
These instances were deemed essential as a vehicle to stir up fiscal accountability in the
government.
Furthermore, the commonalities of vision in terms of enforcement came up with
criticisms from observers and development experts; whereas, the hastening apertures of Aquino,
as well as his predecessor Arroyo, to expand CCT scope not only seems to disregard the
normative logic of having drawbacks, but could also end up unproductively. In fact, according to
PCIJ report, PIDS senior researcher Dr. Gilberto Llanto had warned the former administration
against the expeditious expansion of the programs beneficiaries given the limited fiscal space
(De los Reyes, 2011).15 It also left a reminder to contemplate more about the supply and demand
aspects of the program so as to start reflecting on its capability issues. The Arroyo
administration, apparently, was not able to take up the advice; and as a result, the quantity of
beneficiaries had increased annually by more than half a million since 2008 (54%). Same thing
had emerged during the term of President Aquino where the trend went overwhelmingly
ascended. Meanwhile, the program has directly uttered some distinct changes in allocation and
13 Malacaang to GMA: PNoys popularity is better than your economic growth rate, Get Real
Philippines, January 14, 2012, http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2012/01/malacanang-to-gma-pnoyspopularity-is-better-than-your-economic-growth-rate/ (accessed October 16, 2014)
14 The PSF was reported to be equivalent to 15% of the National Budget.
15 De los Reyes, Che, Deficit in Education, health services weighs down CCT, Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism, May 30, 2011, http://pcij.org/stories/deficit-in-education-health-servicesweighs-down-cct/ (accessed October 16, 2014)

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implementation mechanisms updating the timeframe where initial sourcing of estimation is


determined (i.e. Small Area Estimates) (see Manner of Selection of Beneficiaries).

Technically Comparative Interpretations


With regards to implementation, it is clear that the beneficiaries of the program get to
receive the compensation provided by the government. However, the contention lays the
irregularity on how is the money being spent. There were reports saying that there is no
improvement (increased spending) in terms of per capita consumption of the beneficiaries. The
gap is presumed due to very low denomination input of the government. As qualified by
Chaudhury et al. (2013:11, para. 2), a typical household has per capita consumption of
approximately 46 PHP. This would be the standard either in a program-based or non-program
based community. But some beneficiaries in the program receive very low input contradictory to
the approximate value. By which, there are even some households with per capita consumption
of 5 PHP per day. Individually, such amount cannot even afford a single viand in a food stall so
as beneficiaries are then compelled to constrict their expenses in a way where they can provide
the simplest possible meal for the family. The amount represents a very small percentile reaching
for about 11% of the households per capita consumption. Comparatively, other countries provide
larger monetary allocations such as Nicaragua that has the highest percentage ranging for about
30% of individual consumption and Mexico which has 20% gross per capita consumption.16
The algorithm in the case of the Philippines connotes a great disparity in monetary
distribution; whereas, the gap between the potential percentage a person is more likely to receive
- ranging for about 23% of the income of household head and the amount that the beneficiary
actually receives. That amount, we think, is good enough for those families engraved in the
poverty line to incrementally invest for themselves. Chaudhury et al. (2013:11, para. 2), with
regards to this problem, provided recommendations in order to minimize this gap. According to
the latter, it is recommended to improve compliance rates especially to programs conditions. It
is also advised to update the program database regularly as to reflect schools and health facilities
and so as the beneficiaries could attend accordingly to the dynamics of the program. The last
premise suggests that school and health facilities must be revitalized so as to maximize the
16 According to economist.com (2010), ideally, the range of denomination for CCT in other countries,
particularly in Latin America, stretches from $5-$33. The rate of distribution per capita does not even
compromise at least $1 in the Philippines (0.11-1.024 USD).

15

monitoring efforts of the government in program implementation. This means that there has to
be sort of enhancement prior to Compliance Verification System (CVS).

Program Impact Evaluation Findings


A study conducted by the DSWD also suggests, however, that Pantawid Pamilya
program has yielded positive impacts as for the benefit of its target recipients. It is reported that
there has been a drastic increase of people who were able to avail PhilHealth services. The
program was not just able to compromise its functions, but it was also able to maximize the
coverage of PhilHealth insurance system as a mere bureaucratic instrument. The study also
found out that the poor household beneficiaries under the program were able to avail the benefits
from PhilHealth insurance as compared to those communities that are not covered by the
Pantawid Pamilya projecting 11,000 more beneficiaries in the provincial level (Chaudhury et al.,
2013:11, para. 3). In line of schooling turnout, same study implies that 4Ps beneficiaries are
more likely to send their children to school compared to non-beneficiaries of the program. The
educational stance of the policy has yielded affirmative implications in terms of enrollment
wherein children with ages ranging from 3-5 years have spurred increased enrollment rates (10.3
percentage points: 75.3% > 65%). Similarly, enrollment rates have been projected upwards (4.5
percentage points: 97.5% > 93%) for children aged 6-11 years old. Similarly, increased school
attendance has been noticed among Pantawid Barangays spurring 3.8 percentage points among
children 6-11 years old, 4.9 percentage points among children 12-14 years old, and 7.6
percentage points higher among children 15-17 years old. Such statistics, however, does not
reflect significantly especially to children aged 15-17 (62% attendance rate) years for the
majority under this placement is no longer covered as subject to education subsidies (Chaudhury
et al., 2013:10, para. 2-3).
As per researches, the program was also found to incur significant alterations toward
improved nutritional status of the younger children aged 6-36 months through eradicating severe
stunting. Though apparently, such reports were not able to be seen from the preliminary stages of
implementation. It is numerically evident that the program was able to lower the cases of
stunting down to 10 percentage points (24 > 14.2%) compared to communities that were not
covered by the program. The program ultimately served as an encouraging tool for pregnant
women to avail of antenatal healthcare services (10.5%) and postnatal care (10%) so as to help
them take care of their offspring. This is still in comparison to non-pantawid Barangays. Other

16

age appropriate services (0-5 y/o) have also incurred substantial improvement such as regular
growth monitoring (15% > NPB), de-worming (6.7% > NPB), and Vitamin A supplementation
(6.2% > NPB) (Chaudhury et al., 2013:25, para. 33-34).
As to struggle against poverty, the 4Ps, according to the World Bank, can potentially
elevate a significant percentage of poor people provided that the measures of the program are to
be regarded compromisingly. The education component can contribute to escalate 31.1 percent of
household beneficiaries out of poverty and could even descend the aggregate population of
households experiencing poverty by 52.5 percent provided that the results will remain
consistent.17 The turnout is expected to provide massive results given the fact that the program
eyes on the poorest households. Despite seemingly favorable statistical premonitions, modern
empiricism showing the actual extent of the program in terms of poverty reduction has not yet
been formally established (Reyes, Tabuga, Mina, & Asis, 2013).

Theoretical Correlations
In divergence to a slightly technical discussion, the structure of the program is linked to
certain theories in Public Administration. The general statement with regards to the
implementation of 4Ps basically portrays a paradigmatic compilation of issues which have been
compounded by various denominations the participation of smaller subdivisions, the
distribution of service, the leverage of outsourcing, and acquisition of loans, and the core
implementation parameters of the program; whereas, after conducting an extensive analysis, the
totality of the program would be best correlated to the theory of New Public Management.
According to Osborne and Gaebler (1992), this model talks about reinventing the government by
use of private sector innovation, resources, and organizational ideas in order to improve the
public institutions (cited from Constantinos, 2011). This is merely reflected upon the
convergence of NGOs and CSOs with the DSWD in order to strengthen the operational
mechanisms of the program most particularly the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as well as
17 Poverty incidence in the Philippines in year 2009 was 26.5 percent. The declination of percentage has
become roughly slow for the past 3 years; whereas, the poverty incidence rate in the Philippines for 2012
quantifies for only 25.4% while during the first semester of 2013 it eases down to 24.9%. This is way too
far to be consistent with the Millennium Development Goals of the UNDP aiming for 10 percentage point
reduction of poverty incidence by 2015.

17

the effective imposition of the Grievances Redress System (GRS). 18 This is correlated to the
extent that it reflects the dynamics of the Millennium Development Goals of the UNDP;
whereas, in order to achieve optimal functionality of poverty reduction programs, the
government must substantially improve its external relations in the private sector through
convergence and volunteerism prior to program implementation. Moreover, the framework
assumes the formation of several determinants for an efficient turnout of government services.
For instance, strategic planning and long term budgeting. The program could be likewise
assimilated to the Digital Era Governance, a new public service model that was proposed in
response to the dominance of NPM. It focuses on themes of reintegrating government
accountabilities, needs-based holism, and the advent of digitalization which utilizes
transformational capabilities of modern IT and digital usage (Dunleavy & Margetts, 2000; cited
from Constantinos, 2011).19 This feature is highly conspicuous for the program (4Ps) generally
acknowledges the use of technology as means of data maintenance and systematic assessment of
program compliance.

Conclusion
After accumulated research, it is conclusive that the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino
Program is an effective mechanism imposed by the government as part of its combat towards
poverty reduction. This policy, as exercised by other countries, can apparently bring
compromising turnabouts to minimize the extensive gauge of poverty in the country. It aims to
provide immediate assistance to households in need in order to speed up and maneuver their
activity in the society in a most productive way. However, like all other programs, this has also
its pros and cons. This program shall not be taken as a mere way of alleviating poverty for it only
compromises the act of giving subsidies and is not intended as a mechanism for subsistent
dependence. Despite its affirmative statistical backgrounds, the program still does not
18 For DSWD in particular, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is a system for cooperation between the
two parties for the purpose of delivering basic social services to the poor, implementing development
projects of the Government and instituting transparency and accountability mechanisms to fight
corruption.
19 Constantinos, B.T., Theories of Governance and New Public Management, Academia, 2011,
http://www.academia.edu/2115083/Theories_of_Governance_and_New_Public_Management?
login=&email_was_taken=true (accessed October 16, 2014)

18

significantly utter direct resonance to empirically lower the rate of poverty incidence (26.525.4%) in the country. In fact, the poverty incidence rate in the past three years was not
significant at all (2009-2012 according to Annual Poverty Indicator Survey) to achieve
conspicuous poverty decline, as well as to attain the desired reduction rate as targeted by the
United Nations Development Program.
People should also remember that Pantawid Pamilya is not the only poverty reduction
program being imposed in the Philippines. The aggravated households should not solely rely on
this stratagem. The government has also its alternatives with regards to this problem where
entrepreneurial mechanisms and sustainable livelihood are put into picture. The program may be
statistically effective but the isolated empirical and circumstantial evidences justify the
prevalence of some irregularities; whereas, these shortcomings even root from the Barangay
level where political interventions seem to take place. The budget may also be used as a form of
corruption having considered the flaws in terms of allocation. The latter is best exemplified upon
the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. There is also an indefinite assurance that the funds allotted to
this project are monitored accurately for there is a heavy geographical partition that substantially
makes it challenging for the government to assess the extent of the program as to selection,
overall compliance, and transnational effectiveness.
In addition, Pantawid Pamilya helps the government mobilize its trunks in reaching out
its services to the people in a most efficient way possible. It is indisputable that the program
would significantly assist many households in the long run. The program essentially intensifies
government-funded establishments such as public schools and health centers. Such policy
consequentially magnifies the virtues of mobility and equality. It is also practically asserted that
citizens who regularly impart something in their stomach, and those who are able to revitalize
their mental capacities will come to function productively provided that they get adequate social
support. Nonetheless, the success of CCT programs in other countries does not empirically
justify the presupposition that the policy would likewise yield triumphant implications in the
Philippines. The policy may be effective but it is not a perfect mechanism at all to directly
eliminate poverty. Such stratagem is still in the process of ripening for it needs to incorporate
greater modifications in order to function in maximum efficacy (Mella, Osido, & Suing, n.d.).
Also, as contested, DSWD accentuated that the policy does not intend to tolerate
slothfulness. In fact, it was mentioned in a research that there was no evidence of a declined

19

workforce exerted by most beneficiaries upon its emergence (Chaudhury et. al, 2013:12). The
program essentially operates by providing assistance, not by aggrandizing spoon-feeding. By
2015, upon the arrival of the timeframe allotted for MDG, the people will come to conclude any
of the two: either to inhale the fruits of progress or to remain in a poverty-clouded coterie. After
all, upon inception of poverty, whoever accounts the responsibility to these shortcomings,
whether it is the government or the general public, it is a crucial call to the Filipino community,
as a whole, to unite and to work together in fighting poverty and to save the citizenry from
permanently submerging to indigence refining the hopes of cherishing a better tomorrow.

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NOTHING FOLLOWS
Atayde, Garri; Logan, Major; Serrano, Christian (2014)