PGMA urges Congress to institutionalize her poverty reduction program (4Ps)

June 25, 2009 8:45 am 

BRASILIA, Brazil, June 25 -– President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hás asked Congress to "institutionalize" her poverty reduction program, otherwise known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) by passing a law establishing, regulating and funding it.

The President made the proposal to lawmakers through Deputy House Speaker Girlie Villarosa after the two attended a briefing on the "Bolsa Família Program" (BFP), a poverty reduction scheme of Brazil's Ministry of Social Development in the fight against hunger.

The President said a law institutionalizing the 4Ps, which was established two years ago by a mere administrative order, would bolster its effectiveness and widen its scope or coverage.

The BFP, which is similar to the President´s 4Ps, provides additional income for Brazil´s poorest of the poor with monthly income of below 60 US dollars.

Established in 2003 the BFP was formed through four federal conditional income transfer programs, namely: Bolsa Escola (school grant), Bolsa Alimentacao (food grant), Auxilio Gas (cooking gas grant) and the Cartao Alimentacao (food card).

In this year, some 12.4 million Brazilian families stand to benefit from the BFP.

The 4Ps, meanwhile, is a poverty reduction strategy that provides grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education, particularly children aged 0-14.

With the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as implementor, 4Ps is a flagship project of the Arroyo administration for poverty reduction through investment in human capital.

Household-beneficiary can receive as much as P1,400 for a maximum of three children plus P500 per month for nutrition and health expenses and P300 per month per child with a maximum of three children per household for educational expenses.

Household-beneficiaries, however, must comply with certain conditions to continue receiving the cash grants.

The conditions are: parents must ensure that their children attend school at least 85 percent of the time, and receive vaccinations and health care.

Furthermore, pregnant women are entitled to pre- and post-natal care and be the service of a skilled health professional during childbirth.

Parents are also required to attend responsible parenthood seminars, mother's classes, and parent effectiveness seminars.

To date, 511,207 households were surveyed in 162 municipalities in 23 provinces and six cities, wherein 244,057 were processed and identified as potential beneficiaries through a process called Proxy Means Test.

The list of potential beneficiaries is downloaded to the regional offices for validation through the conduct of community assemblies.

Some 203,587 household beneficiaries have been receiving each cash assistance of more than P357 since January 2008.

The main difference, however, between the BFP and the 4Ps is that the former was created by virtue of a Federal Law of Brazil with a yearly budget and implementationed by Brazils government agencies.

In an interview, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said that while the 4Ps is already being implemented, he said the President wants the program institutionalized by law so that its implementation would cover more Filipino families.

He also noted that Brazil´s BFP has the backing and full support of the Catholic church. (PNA)



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