P1B allocated for Cebu's poor

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

CEBU CITY -- Poor families in Cebu Province will share P1.2 billion this year from the budget of the social welfare agency, as it continues to implement a cash transfer program.

Bohol will get P647.5 million; Negros Oriental, P475.5 million; and Siquijor, P39.2 million.

The funds will be disbursed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), with the support of local government units, to poor families, Regional Director Mercedita Jabagat said.


Of the P1.2 billion allocated for Cebu this year, P109.9 million will for the first district. The second district will get P112.2 million; the third district, P151.3 million; the fourth district, P276 million; P271.7 million for the fifth district; and P93.3 million for the sixth district.

At least P28.2 million was set aside for Lapu-Lapu City’s lone district, while Cebu City’s north district will get P33.3 million and the south district will get P22.6 million.

As of 2009, when the first Nationwide Household Assessment was conducted, DSWD reported there were 314,654 poor families in Region 7 (Central Visayas). The poverty threshold then was P17,770.

Jabagat also said that the DSWD will start assessing this month 1,016,270 households in Central Visayas for the Listahan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, to identify poor or “near poor” families who deserve help from social protection programs.

The agency was asked to provide data after the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda)-Central Visayas reported to the Regional Development Council (RDC)-Central Visayas that the poverty threshold or poverty line for 2012 was P18,855 a month for a family of five.

DSWD classifies a family as poor if their estimated income is equal to or less than the poverty threshold of the province.

In the 2009 survey, 151,425 poor families were identified in Cebu; 88,550 in Negros Oriental; 70,028 in Bohol; and 4,651 in Siquijor. The 314,654 poor families in the region accounted for six percent of all poor families across the country.

The RDC was recently told that while the number of poor families in Cebu dropped from 2006 to 2012, that was not the case for the entire region. While poverty incidence in Central Visayas dropped from 30.7 percent in 2006 to 25.7 percent in 2012, the actual number of poor families increased from 345,870 to 405,694.

Access to quality basic services, Jabagat said, is one way to address poverty.

She said it is one of the multi-dimensional approaches to poverty in the Social Reform Agenda that was enhanced through Republic Act 8425 or the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act.

“This dimension refers to equitable access to social services and facilities such as education, health, housing and other basic services, which enables the citizens to meet their basic human needs and to live decent lives,” Jabagat said.

For now, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program covers poor households that have children 14 years old or younger.

But starting this year, Jabagat said, the program will be extended to households that have teenagers 16-18 years old whose names are in the Listahan database.

Households under the 4Ps, which is a conditional cash transfer program, receive a monthly stipend as long as they meet some conditions. These conditions include keeping their children in school, having their infants immunized and sending pregnant women to regular pre-natal check-ups, among others.

She cited a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, which showed that the program met its objectives, as shown in the increased enrollment and attendance in schools. Another sign of success was that more pregnant women availed themselves of health services.

Jabagat said that based on results of the Social Welfare Indicator monitoring tool, there were 42,641 beneficiaries of DSWD’s conditional cash transfers who moved up from the survival level to subsistence, while 134 beneficiaries were classified as self-sufficient. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 05, 2014.

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