• PH’s CCT program can help reduce inequality – WB

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    Conditional cash transfer (CCT) schemes like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Philippines can help reduce inequality – a necessary component to reaching the world’s goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, according to a new report by the Washington-based World Bank.

    In the inaugural edition of “Poverty and Shared Prosperity” report, the multilateral lender noted if CCTs are combined with other safety net interventions, such as transfers of productive assets, skills training, and access to credit and finance, they have been shown to generate wide-ranging benefits.

    “Thus, the ability of the safety net system in the Philippines to scale up to reach hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries after catastrophic events is in part explained by the flexibity of the system in the face of emergency situations,” it said.

    CCTs have generally shown positive results at improving child development and nutritional outcomes.

    “Antenatal and postnatal care have been shown to improve, along with facility-based deliveries, in Indonesia and the Philippines,” according to the report.

    CCTs are also policy instruments affecting the access to and quality of education, it said.

    “In Cambodia, CCTs have raised secondary-school attendance by 26 percentage points, while, in Malawi, the Philippines, and Zimbabwe, the effects on secondary-school attendance are – albeit more modest – still significant, between 5 and 10 percentage points,” it said.

    Regarding the unintended effects of CCTs, recent evaluations of programs in Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Philippines fail to demonstrate reductions in the labor market participation of beneficiaries relative to non-beneficiaries or increases in the consumption of alcohol or tobacco or in gambling.

    “In the Philippines, a steep decline in the consumption of alcohol of 39 percentage points has been documented among beneficiary households relative to control groups,” it said.

    The report noted that successful CCT programs are associated not only with efficient beneficiary identification and targeting, but also precise evaluations of transfer effectiveness. This is the case of programs in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and, more recently, Ethiopia and the Philippines as part of the success of emerging CCT programs integrated within other safety net interventions is flexibility.

    “Thus, the ability of safety nets in Ethiopia (the Productive Safety Net Program) and the Philippines (the Pantawid Pamiliya Pilipino Program) to reach thousands of new beneficiaries (millions in the case of Ethiopia) after catastrophic events indicates that the coordination of cash transfers, emergency response, and post-disaster reconstruction is possible and effective in protecting the poor from natural disasters,” it said.

    “This was the case of the 4Ps program in the Philippines, which, in a situation of national calamity, was effective after the conditionality was voided temporarily, and the CCTs were delivered without compliance verification requirements for the duration of the emergency,” it added.

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