MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said the latest assessments from the updated “Listahanan” revealed that more than 1.5 million families benefiting from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) now have an “improved well-being” and attaining self-sufficiency level.
“Listahanan 2” or the National Household Targetting System for Poverty Reduction Program (NHTS-PR) data assessed in 2014 showed that a total of 1,511,320 beneficiaries of the 4Ps have attained improved status or can be classified as “non-poor.”
The figure represents a large percentage (36 percent) of the total 4.2 million active household beneficiaries of 4Ps as of 2014.
The improvement in the lives of the 1.5 million beneficiaries reflected their dedication and hard work to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty that they had been by using wisely the assistance given to them under 4Ps and doing also their share of responsibilities and extra efforts as well.
The signs of improvement were seen when the households were revisited during the assessment and evaluations done by enumerators which were also further verified and spot-checked by other staffs in 2014 from the data gathering and methodology conducted in saturating the rural and urban areas where there were pockets of poverty.
In the Proxy Means Test (PMT) done, some common aspects that were identified as indicating improved lives of beneficiaries were seen through the built of the houses in the community that was first assessed in 2008, the kind of flooring (soil flooring-turned-to cemented flooring), roofs (“pawid” or nipa palm before but now converted into galvanized roofs), their means of cooking (simple ones to a better one), being able to budget the expenses for food, schooling of children, heads of the family have an expected source of income or with livelihood/job, etc.
According to DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman, the “improved” form of lives of the beneficiaries, however, would not mean that the assistance to them will be stopped.
She noted that the said families now being classified as “non-poor” still have the tendency to go back to poverty and therefore, continuing forms of assistance through different programs of the government are needed to be in place for them to ensure that the improvement of their lives will be sustained.
She said there are different factors that can affect such beneficiaries to slide down to poverty again and again due to occurrence of natural and man-made calamities, disasters, climate change, loss of jobs and other risk factors that can affect them financially because as mentioned, they are “vulnerable” to all of these factors.
Soliman added that to avoid such a scenario, they are currently starting to formulate programs, together with DSWD’s development partners, to help further such “non-poor” families in conquering the inter-generational cycle of poverty that has affected many Filipinos in the past and the government is addressing through creation and implementation of different anti-poor programs.
“And I want to say that right now, we are developing together with our colleagues from development partners such as Asian Development Bank (ADB), Australian government, World Bank (WB) and other government agencies a program that we are naming as ‘near-poor’ because as indicated by Dr. Dennis Mapa, those with an improved well-being can be fifty pesos to a thousand pesos poverty threshold to even two thousand pesos given with climate change and situations where they are still considered vulnerable and therefore we need to strengthen the program to support them so that they will not fall back to poverty,” the DSWD chief explained.
She noted that even Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys which come out on a quarterly basis revealed that there are poor families that go back and forth from being poor and non-poor or what can be called as “transient poor” because of situations that may surround and affect them.
She said that given that situations, there is a need to ensure that such families who are able to move up to that level will be provided with “strength” and necessary supporting programs to ensure that their journey towards sustaining self-sufficiency will not have barriers or be blocked.
As an example, she said that different programs can be created from the data registered in the “Listahanan 2” wherein it is easier to make the necessary target program which will prevent “over-serving” as well as “under-serving.”
Secretary Soliman further said that the updated database of the Listahanan will ultimately benefit the poor because such database can be used by both public and private agencies that deliver social protection programs and services.
The database can be accessed for purposes that aim to assist the poor as long as there will be a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will be entered into to ensure that it will truly serve its purpose in assisting the identified poor families in the country.
The previous database created in 2008 is currently used by more than 1,000 local government units (LGUs), non- governmental agencies (NGAs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide services related to education, nutrition, health, maternal care, employment, water, sanitation, electricity, shelter and environment.
The database was also used as basis in choosing the targeted beneficiaries for 4Ps, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Kalahi-CIDSS (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) free coverage to indigents and senior citizens, among others.