Press Release
March 7, 2016


Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago on Monday pledged to improve the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) if elected in May with the hope of lifting more Filipinos out of poverty.

Santiago, who authored a bill that seeks to institutionalize the 4Ps as early as 2009, said she will plug leakages in the flagship poverty alleviation program that has spanned two administrations and reduce the cost of running it.

"We need to invest in our people. Only by investing in people can we truly make growth inclusive. Only if the young are educated and healthy can they benefit from growing economic prosperity," the senator said.

Santiago proposes to match the 4Ps with a grant-for work program. This means that if either the mother or father in a beneficiary family works, the family will get higher stipends. "There is more pride in working than in getting dole-outs," she said.

In Senate Bill No. 2858 filed in July 2015, Santiago also sought to expand the reach of the 4Ps to include children aged 15 to 18 years old in order to ensure that the current beneficiaries will finish high school.

To reduce the administrative cost of running the 4Ps, Santiago said she will involve local government units, with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) still supervising the program's implementation.

"LGUs should be involved so that they will also get credit for the 4Ps. DSWD has no monopoly of righteousness. Besides, social welfare is a devolved function. Local authorities should be given a chance to prove their worth," she said.

Despite accolades, the government's conditional cash transfer program has been hugely controversial, because of allegations of corruption and lack of absorptive capacity of the implementing agencies, primarily the DSWD.

Santiago said that her administration will create an inter-agency council that will oversee and implement the program. "We should also put in place mechanisms to penalize those who use the program for personal or political gain," she added.

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