Press Release
September 21, 2016

Drilon, DSWD agree to expand beneficiaries of rice subsidy program, give cash instead of rice

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) agreed to a proposal made by Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon to include the 1.3 million families who will be removed from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) next year in its rice subsidy program.

"I do not see any valid reason why these 1.3 million near-poor families cannot receive rice allowances, when clearly they would need it?" Drilon asked.

At the Senate Committee on Finance's deliberation on the P130 billion budget of the agency on Wednesday, it was revealed that only 3.1 million of the current 4.4 million 4Ps beneficiaries are entitled to the 20 kilos monthly rice allocation next year.

There are about 1.3 million families who are not qualified simply because their monthly income is already P500 to P1,000 above the poverty threshold.

Upon learning, Drilon then told Social Welfare Secretary Judith Taguiwalo that the rice subsidy program should be extended to these 1.3 million families, "because whether they are poor or near-poor, the fact is they remain poor and are still vulnerable to external and economic shocks which will make them fall back into poverty."

"The fact that these families are making gains in escaping poverty means that we should support them even more and make sure they won't regress to being the poorest of the poor," he said.

Likewise, the social welfare department also heeded Drilon's advice to convert the amount allotted for the government's rice subsidy program into an outright cash grant, instead of a monthly rice allocation.

"It is in the best interest of the beneficiaries and the government that the rice subsidy be provided in the form of cash instead of rice vouchers or actual rice," Drilon said.

"If you give them rice or rice voucher, the poor would just sell it to traders at the lowest price," he added.

By giving cash instead of actual rice or rice voucher, Drilon said the agency could avoid the huge cost and logistical nightmare that a rice subsidy program might cause.

Under the proposed budget for CCT next year, P49.4 billion was allotted to the cash grant and another P23.4 for the rice allowance program.

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