Malacañang on Sunday expressed elation over the World Bank’s approval of a $450 million funding for the government’s flagship anti-poverty program, otherwise known as the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program that benefits more than 4 million poor Filipino families.
In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the WB action bolstered the administration’s resolve to address poverty and attain inclusive growth for all.
“For the past five years, the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) and CCT have contributed immensely to the country’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, particularly on achieving universal primary education, reduction in infant and child mortality, improvement in maternal healthcare and universal healthcare, and supporting employment,” Coloma stressed.
The P450 million package will provide basic healthcare and education to millions of Filipino families until 2019 under the bank’s Social Welfare Development and Reform Project II, and will cover about 7 per cent of the total cost of implementing CCT.
The government has allotted almost P63 billion ($1.3 billion) from its 2016 budget for the pro-poor program, which is expanding this year to cover 4.6 million households.
“The World Bank is steadfast in its commitment and support for the CCT because we believe it contributes to reducing extreme poverty and inequality,” said Cecilia Vales, the bank’s acting country director for the Philippines.
About 25 percent of the Philippines’ 100 million people live below the poverty line. The 4Ps or CCT program has grown into one of the largest and best-targeted social safety net programs in the world, with 82 per cent of the benefits going to the bottom 40 per cent of the population.
Studies have shown that the program has reduced total poverty and food poverty among beneficiaries by as much as 6.7 percentage points. At the national level, the program is estimated to have reduced both total poverty and food poverty by up to 1.4 percentage points in 2013.
According to Coloma, the fund will ensure that the CCT will continue even after the term of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.