Cezario Joel Espejo, director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Region 12 (Photo courtesy of DSWD-12)  

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Close to 72,000 families in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) covered by the national government’s conditional cash transfer program are now considered as “out of poverty” and already self-sufficient.

Cezario Joel Espejo, director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 12 (DSWD-12), said Monday such development was based on the results of their ongoing assessment on the status of the 258,466 households in the region that are enrolled in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

He said the regional assessment was made through the social welfare development indicator, a tool used by the agency to determine the well-being of its program beneficiaries.

Data released by DSWD-12 showed that a total of 71,930 households are now self-sufficient; 105,738 under the subsistence level or whose family income is only enough to cover for their basic needs; and 1,291 under the survival level and still need external resources.

Espejo said those assessed under the self-sufficient level “are now able to live without external support.”

“This is a good indication (of the program’s success) because nearly half of our beneficiaries were able to get out of poverty,” he said in a report.

Naifah Balindong, regional coordinator of 4Ps, said a self-sufficient level of well-being means that one or more members of a family-beneficiary were able to get a college degree and are now employed by private or government agencies.

She said some of them now own small businesses that could support their daily sustenance and other needs.

Last year, the national government increased the monthly grants of the 4Ps beneficiaries, with the full implementation of Republic Act 11310, which strengthened and institutionalized the program.

The program’s conditions for the household-beneficiaries include keeping school-aged children in schools; regular pre and post-natal care for mothers; regular and preventive checkups for children aged 5-year old and below; deworming for children aged 14-year old and below; and, attendance to the monthly family development sessions.

Espejo said they will continue with their assessment on the status of the 4Ps beneficiaries in the coming months since the initiative was disrupted last year due to the onset of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

He said the assessment will also determine other interventions or assistance needed by the concerned households. (PNA)