PHL govt’s CCT program gets fresh USD450M World Bank funding

By , on February 22, 2016

(Photo courtesy of PCDSPO and the Official Gazette).
(Photo courtesy of PCDSPO and the Official Gazette).

MANILA—The World Bank has approved a new financing package amounting to USD450 million to support the continued implementation of the Philippine government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) anti-poverty program.

CCT or locally known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a social safety net program that helps ensure children from poor families grow up healthy and stay in school. Under the program, poor pregnant mothers receive regular health checks.

By targeting poor, it also helps protect them from the impact of economic shocks, natural disasters and other crises. CCT currently benefits more than four million poor families with 11 million children.

“The USD450-million Social Welfare Development and Reform Project II (SWDRP2) will contribute to the government’s financing of health and education grants for CCT beneficiaries nationwide from 2016 to 2019, covering about seven percent of the total cost of the program’s implementation,” a World Bank statement from Washington said.

Recent studies show that the program has reduced the total poverty and food poverty among CCT beneficiaries by up to 6.7 percentage points. At the national level, estimates show the program reduced both total poverty and food poverty by up to 1.4 percentage points in 2013.

“After only a few years of implementation, we are already seeing its tangible benefits to poor Filipinos. With continuing support from development partners like the World Bank, we can sustain our momentum toward reducing poverty and inequality,” said Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman.

Among the program’s education and health objectives are:

Enrollment among poor elementary school children are increased by five percentage points, while secondary education enrollment increased by seven percentage points.

Increased prenatal and postnatal care by 10 percentage points and increased the delivery of babies in health facilities by skilled health professionals by 20 percentage points.

Children receiving higher intake of vitamin A and iron supplementation by around 12 percentage points and increased weight monitoring visits to health facilities by 18 percentage points.

“The World Bank is steadfast in its commitment and support for the CCT because we believe it contributes to reducing extreme poverty and inequality,” said World Bank Acting Country Director Cecilia Vales. “Combined with high and sustained economic growth, CCT as a social safety net provides an equitable foundation for growth that works for the poor.”

The Philippines’ CCT program, according to the World Bank, has grown into one of the largest and best-targeted social safety net programs in the world, with 82 percent of the benefits going to the bottom 40 percent of the country’s population.

Globally, more than 1.9 billion people in 136 low- and middle-income countries benefit from social safety net programs like the CCT, it added.