Yolanda-hit 4Ps families to get additional cash grants

MORE than 5,000 family beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) worst affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Eastern Samar will be given additional financial assistance by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) for six months.

“A total of 5,801 4Ps households in Eastern Samar, namely, the municipalities of Guiuan, Hernani, Mercedes, Balangkayan and Salcedo, will benefit from the Unicef's Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program,” Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman said.

She said the identified beneficiaries are the vulnerable households that are unable to meet their food and essential non-food needs.

She said under a Memorandum of Agreement signed by Unicef and DSWD, each household beneficiary will receive P4,400 monthly, on top of the regular cash grant provided by the 4Ps.

“The cash distribution will run concurrently with 4Ps pay-outs. The additional cash grant will cover six months starting July until December 2014,” the DSWD chief added.

She said that this Unicef-DSWD partnership expands from the 10,000 households currently supported by Unicef's UCT program in Leyte.

The partnership exemplifies strengthened support of Unicef to the 4Ps household survivors in its current recovery phase activities and reaffirms its strong commitment in its work to advance the welfare of children.

It is implemented with the Unicef partner Action Contre La Faim (ACF) that provides a similar cash grant over six months.

“The unconditional transfer of cash to carefully selected families allows them to take a step back from the decisions they have to make after Haiyan/Yolanda, given their loss of property, savings and livelihoods," said Lotta Sylwander, Unicef Philippines representative.

Sylwander added that they decided to give additional cash grants through UCT program in Leyte to complement the very low household incomes of the survivors, so that they can spend half of the cash transfer on food and the rest on shelter, health care, education and savings to help them recover faster.

“These efforts complement the recovery efforts of the 4Ps beneficiaries toward improving the country’s human capital by keeping poor children in school, and giving them medical assistance while extending immediate financial support to their families,” she said.

She said the collaboration with DSWD in the provision of additional cash grants to 4Ps households in Eastern Visayas is a demonstration of their goal to reach more children and families in the most direct way possible, including advancing their rights to determine and fulfill their immediate recovery needs.

“Eight months after Haiyan/Yolanda, we continue to receive support from our partners whose mandate involves empowering children and families. We are grateful to Unicef for extending assistance to 4Ps beneficiaries in selected areas in Eastern Samar. With our strong partnership with Unicef, we can significantly contribute to positive changes in the lives of our beneficiaries,” Soliman said.

Family beneficiaries of 4Ps usually receive a cash grant worth P500, health grants of P300 to P500 each for at least three children who are studying in elementary and high school.

The cash grants are given provided that the household beneficiaries will send their children in school or will have 85 percent attendance, regularly visit health centers for check-up and updated receiving of vaccinations to ensure that their family and children are healthy and educated or in school, and attending Family Development Sessions (FDS) that teach them some lessons in improving their family relationships and lives.

The program is an investment of the government on the health and education of the poor families to enable them to finish studies, value the essence of good health and become productive future workforce of the country that will have higher chances or capability to become self-sufficient as they become employable or earn incomes that will lift themselves and their families from poverty.

The program started in 2008 and was continued by the current Aquino administration in line with its goal to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty and uplift the lives of the poor so that no one will be left behind in an inclusive growth for all.

More than four million poor households are benefitting from the program, and according to the fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, at least 2.5 million Filipinos were able to lift themselves up from the poverty line as they benefit from the poverty alleviation program.

In ensuring that the poor will not sink deeply into poverty, the said program is also complemented with other pro-poor programs like the Sustainable Livelihood Program that provides them livelihood assistance and KC-NCDDP or Kalahi-CIDSS National Community Driven Development Program.

KC-NCDDP complements 4Ps by giving the poor beneficiaries in the poorest municipalities access to basic services or sub-projects they identify that will help them achieve progress in their community. (PNA)

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