DSWD welcomes 4Ps grant expansion

June 12, 2024, 6:17 pm Updated on June 12, 2024, 6:43 pm

MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday welcomed President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s approval of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’s (4Ps) expanded cash grant as “incentive” for poor pregnant and lactating women.

 In a sectoral meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday, President Marcos gave his go-signal for the DSWD’s proposal to include a First 1000 day-grant for the 4Ps beneficiaries who are pregnant, nursing, or those with two-year-old children.
“The President gave us instructions on how we can improve the lot of our pregnant and lactating mothers, especially our poorer mothers,” Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian, who attended the sectoral meeting, said.
He added that the additional grant for the 4Ps program will serve as an incentive for the target beneficiaries to avail of health services and will address malnutrition and stunting in the country.
“This will serve as an incentive for them to have this what we call health-seeking behavior which means they will be motivated to go to the health center, register, avail of pre-and post-natal care, and post-partum treatment, including immunization for their 0 to 2-year old children,” he said.
Gatchalian added that the proposed grant will only be for 4Ps subset beneficiaries who are pregnant, nursing, or those with 0 to 2-year-old children and is just temporary until such time that they have passed through the stage.
The DSWD serves as the chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger (IATF-ZH) which has been directed by the President to prioritize the implementation and monitoring of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programs to address food insecurity in the country.
During a sectoral meeting last Feb. 20, President Marcos instructed the DSWD to work with concerned agencies, particularly with the National Economic and Development Authority and Philippine Statistics Authority, to sharpen the DSWD proposal.
Under the DSWD’s 4Ps program, a household beneficiary receives cash aid on the condition that their children attend school and are brought to health centers for their monthly medical check-up.
Household beneficiaries of 4Ps with elementary students receive PHP300 per child per month for 10 months; PHP500 per child per month for 10 months for junior high school; and PHP700 per child per month for 10 months for senior high school.
Households also get PHP750 per month for 12 months provided that their children aged two to 14 years old undergo a growth development and monitoring program and deworming. Families are also required to attend the monthly family development sessions (FDS).
The Malusog at Matalinong Bata Coalition (MMB Coalition), an alliance of advocacy groups, academics, and nutrition advocates committed to fighting stunting in the Philippines through policy reforms, has expressed its support for the DSWD proposal.
The MMB Coalition described stunting as a critical condition where children suffer from restricted growth and cognitive development due to malnutrition. Its more profound impact is on cerebral development, with 80 percent of brain growth occurring by the age of two and 90 percent by the age of five.
The group also cited that stunting currently affects approximately 26.7 percent of Filipino children between infancy and five years of age. (PR)