Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang claims that recent Social Weather Stations surveys citing almost unchanged poverty incidence in the country over the last decade only proves that the flagship anti-poverty program of the Aquino administration, the Pantawid Pamilyang Program (4Ps), is defective.
The group also claims that the program has only bred mendicancy among its poor beneficiaries and made them highly susceptible to political patronage. An estimated 52 percent of Filipino families, or 10.6 million, consider themselves poor, according to the March SWS survey. The results are slightly lower than the December 2012 self-poverty survey that showed 10.9 million families, or 54 percent, saying they were poor.
A conservative census of National Statistical Coordination Board meanwhile cites that the July 2012 poverty rate of 27.9 percent is practically unchanged from 2006 and 2009. The 4Ps was pre-pilot tested under the Arroyo administration in selects cities and municipalities in 2007. Under the Aquino administration, the number of beneficiary households enrolled in the 4Ps grew from less than 800,000 in 2010 to 4.4 million in 2015.
The budget allocation likewise increased from P10 billion in 2010 to about P62.7 billion in 2016, making the 4Ps easily the centerpiece program of the P-Noy presidency.This year, the program seeks to enlist another 200,000 households belonging to the “near poor.”
Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chair, denounced all presidential candidates for advocating the expansion of 4Ps. She asked, “Despite its failure to significantly address the chronic poverty in the country, why are all presidential candidates espousing the expansion of 4Ps?”
Arellano also said that any presidentiable who wants to sincerely address poverty in the country will not expand 4Ps unless he or she is after political patronage.
“The country’s next top leader should instead implement the proposed P750 national minimum wage and ensure the creation of ‘real’ and decent jobs for the millions of unemployed Filipinos. Meanwhile, the long-delayed agrarian reform program can only address poverty in the countryside,” according to the leader.
“Unless these programs are done, 4Ps will remain as ‘pantawid’ or a band-aid solution to the ever-worsening poverty in the country.”
Kadamay also slammed the ruling Liberal Party for using 4Ps in mobilizing for its political sorties. On Monday, thousands of 4Ps beneificiaries in Metro Mania were deceived to attend a unity walk and gathering to pass the Conditional Cash Transfer Bill. The event turned out to be a gathering that endorses Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo, and popularizes the hashtag #4Ps4MarLeni.