THE government’s anti-poverty scheme Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) does not breed mendicancy nor does it foster dependence among its beneficiaries as claimed by detractors of the program, a government think tank said.
In a statement, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said that based on recent studies, the program has not discouraged household heads from seeking work, has led to increased school participation of children, and has increased household consumption of education-related goods.
According to a study titled “Does Pantawid Foster Dependence or Encourage Work? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment” by PIDS senior research fellow Dr. Aniceto Orbeta, the government’s conditional cash transfer program (CCT) increased the desire for work of the household head and his female spouse, all adult members 18 years and above, and middle-aged workers 35 to 54 years old.
The PIDS said the findings were contrary to the claim of detractors that CCT breeds mendicancy.
“Parents work to compensate for loss of income from children who attend school. When people publicly recognize the importance of education, families are convinced to keep their children in school. Households also respond by exerting more effort,” Orbeta said.
The study said that in terms of child labor, the program “significantly reduces” the number of hours of work for pay of elementary school-aged children 6 to 11 years old, but did not significantly affect the incidence of child labor.
Another study titled “Estimating the impact of 4Ps on school participation of Filipino children using propensity score matching” said the program led to an increase of 3 percentage points to 4.6 percentage points in the school participation rate of children aged 6 to 14.
The study, authored by PIDS senior research fellow Dr. Celia Reyes and supervising research specialist Christian Mina, showed that around 96.3 percent of children of 4Ps families attend school. For the matched non-4Ps families, the rate ranges from 91.7 to 93.3 percent.
The PIDS said additional findings show that 4Ps does not influence school participation of children beyond the age coverage. The difference between the school participation rate of 4Ps beneficiaries and matched non-4Ps age groups 15 to 18 turned out to be insignificant.
This led to the proposal to extend support to existing 4Ps beneficiaries to allow students to graduate from high school, it added.
Another study titled “The impact of the Philippine conditional cash transfer program on consumption” by Melba Tutor, research associate at the Social Weather Stations (SWS), found that households increased their consumption of education-related goods.
The study indicated there was a stronger impact on 4Ps households belonging to the poorest 20 percent of the population because these households’ total consumption increased due to higher spending on food, education, and clothing.
The study said this validates the assumption that the poorest of the poor, or those expected to gain the most from 4Ps, actually benefit.
In addition, Tutor said there was no observed spending for alcohol and tobacco, debunking the claim of 4Ps critics that cash assistance was not being spent properly.