Poverty-reduction takes lion’s share in 2015 budget

By on January 20, 2015

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MANILA — In support of the Aquino administration’s intensified drive to reduce poverty in the country, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) today said that Social Services now corner 36.6 percent or P952.7 billion—the largest of all sectoral allocations—of the 2015 P2.606-trillion National Budget.

The allocation towards the Administration’s poverty reduction programs reinforces President Aquino’s key message for the 2015 fiscal year: “No one, especially the poor and the vulnerable, should be left behind.”

The Social Services 2015 budget program of P952.7 billion—up by 13.2 percent compared to last year’s budget—will help the National Government achieve their Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing poverty incidence to 16 percent by 2016 while sustaining equal opportunities for all.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said, “To ensure that the Administration can properly reach out to the country’s poorest, we had to ensure sufficient funding support for programs under our agencies on the front lines of poverty reduction.”

One of these agencies, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), was already set to receive a larger share from the then-proposed 2015 National Budget even before the latter’s congressional review and approval. In the end, the DSWD received P108.2 billion, 29.8 percent higher from its 2014 budget.

The DSWD’s primary program in helping the poor is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), also known as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program. With a budget of P62.3 billion, the program provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to help reduce poverty for 4.3 million families.

The DSWD also has other programs to address social protection:

– The KALAHI-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Project, which seeks to empower communities in accessing services and participating in local planning, budgeting and implantation. This program will support 6,735 community projects that cater to 1.5 million poor households.

– The Sustainable Livelihood Program, which covers families who graduate from the CCT program. This program will support 265,175 family beneficiaries with micro-enterprise developments and 113,647 households under the employment facilitation through capacity development.

– Social pensions for indigent senior citizens, which allocates a monthly social pension of P500 to 939,609 indigent senior citizens aged 65 years and above.

– The Supplemental Feeding Program, which is part of the government’s Early Childhood Care and Development program, is a food supplementation program that will give hot meals to children during snack-/mealtime five days a week for 120 days.

– The National Household Targeting System, an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are, besides ranking and classifying them. Updated every four years, it has already identified 5.2 million poor households entitled to social protection as of 2011.

Abad said, “The budget allocation for social protection is part of the Administration’s investment in the people, who are ultimately the country’s most invaluable resource. From creating more jobs for our growing population to ensuring the well-being of the poorest and most vulnerable, the National Government is resolved to improve the quality of life of our citizens.

More important, however, is ensuring that Filipinos get equal opportunity to benefit from our economic gains, and that the growth we’ve already tracked can be sustained beyond this administration.”