MANILA – Tutok To Win Party-list Representative Sam Verzosa Jr. on Thursday amplified his firm belief in the necessity of passing an expanded Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) law to create economic opportunity among adult beneficiaries of the program.

Verzosa, who led the deliberations of the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the committee on the substitute bill, hailed its approval last Tuesday by the Poverty Alleviation panel.

The substitute bill was a product of House Bill (HB) No. 2422, authored by Rep. Gus Tambunting (Parañaque, 2nd District), and HB No. 4366 by Agri Party-List Rep. Wilbert Lee.

"Kailangan gawin nating inclusive ang ating mga (We need to make inclusive all our) entrepreneurship, livelihood, and economic opportunities. Dapat kasama pati yung mga tinatawag na isang kahig, isang tuka. Kung kulang ang kanilang pinag-aralan, dapat may alternative learning systems tayo para matulungan sila. Kailangan natin silang maihanda sa paghanap ng employment (It must include the poorest sectors of society. If they lack enough education, we should provide alternative learning systems to help them. We need to prepare them find employment),” he said.

Verzosa earlier led consultations with the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilyang Pilipino (SNPP) and various government agencies over the amendments to the Expanded 4Ps Law, which aim to provide education, employment, and livelihood assistance to adult 4Ps beneficiaries.

The substitute bill is entitled: “An Act Promoting Inclusive Education, Entrepreneurship, and Employment for Sustainable Development among 4Ps Adult Beneficiaries”, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 11310, otherwise known as “An Act Institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).” Its short title is "Expanded Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act." It is expected to create education, entrepreneurship, livelihood, and economic opportunities for 4Ps beneficiaries.

The most recent data reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) indicated that the Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 7.6 percent in 2022. This is the second highest growth rate, next only to the 8.8 percent economic growth rate recorded in 1976.

Verzosa said, however, that despite the good news, there are still poor Filipinos below the poverty line in the country.

Kaya natutuwa ako na aprubado na sa committee ang Expanded 4Ps Law na isang effective na paraan para maging inclusive ang economic growth natin at mas maraming Pilipino pa ang umasenso (So I’m happy that the committee approved the Expanded 4Ps law which is an effective way to make our economic growth inclusive and that more Filipinos will have improved lives),” he said.

Expanded 4Ps Law practically aims to enlarge the number of 4Ps recipients and to provide skills training to adult 4Ps beneficiaries through non-formal education track, employment track, and entrepreneurship track. There are an estimated 4.2 million individual 4Ps recipients at present. It will also provide post-skills interventions to help adult 4Ps beneficiaries to look for jobs or put up businesses.

The TWG meeting was attended by panelists from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). (PNA)