1 in 5 remains poor

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    While the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) has helped in reducing poverty, still one in five Filipinos remain poor and many more are vulnerable to poverty, a report published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

    According to the study titled “Effective approaches to poverty reduction: selected cases from the ADB,” transfers from government social programs contributed about 25 percent of the reduction in poverty between 2006 and 2015, citing the World Bank’s assessment.

    The Manila-based agency said despite lower spending by government on social assistance and social safety nets compared to global figures, the impact on poverty has been higher.

    “The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is the government’s agency responsible for vastly expanding the social assistance programs reaching millions of beneficiaries. This stretches the administrative and implementation capacity of DSWD and its partner government departments (especially, the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), and all municipal offices,” the ADB said.

    The report, which was posted in the bank’s website yesterday, said the scope for using information technology solutions in terms of connecting the management information and data systems of DSWD, DOH, DepEd and other relevant agencies will be examined under ADB’s proposed expanded Social Assistance Project.

    “The government plans to issue unique national identity cards to all citizens including the CCT (conditional cash transfer) beneficiaries in the coming years. This has tremendous potential for simplifying the exchange of data and information across different government departments and streamlining implementation and monitoring of the CCT program,” the ADB said.

    “All these issues are being examined as the government plans for the next phase of the 4Ps program. ADB, the World Bank, and other donors stand ready to assist the government as required,” it added.

    The report said the CCT program is critical for achieving the Philippines’ development vision for 2040, which strives for a prosperous middle-class society where no one is poor; people live long and healthy lives and are smart and innovative; and families thrive in vibrant, culturally diverse and resilient communities.

    It is also essential for meeting the two key goals of the Philippines Development Plan 2017-2022, namely, universal and transformative social protection, and poverty reduced to 14 percent by 2022, the report said.