PBBM Considers Giving Rice Instead of Cash to 4Ps Beneficiaries

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, better known as “4Ps,” is the national poverty reduction strategy of the Philippine government. The program seeks to aid households who are living below the poverty threshold, including street dwellers and indigenous families.

Implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 4Ps is pattered after conditional cash transfer programs in other developing countries. Basically, program beneficiaries receive cash grants, provided that they comply with certain conditions.

Recently, however, government officials have mentioned that rice — the Filipinos’ staple food — is being considered as a replacement for cash aid under the 4Ps program. Keep on reading for more details!

PBBM Considers Giving Rice Instead of Cash to 4Ps Beneficiaries

Rice Instead of Cash for 4Ps Being Considered

During a Palace press briefing on Tuesday, 13th February 2024, Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Roger Navarro stated that President Ferdinand ”Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is considering rice as the assistance to be given under the 4Ps program instead of money, GMA News reported.

“’Actually, it was suggested in the meeting that we have the 4Ps, for example, for DSWD,” Navarro explained. “We told the President that if we can convert the 4Ps instead of money, it should be in rice form, supplied by NFA.”

“And we’re giving them [4Ps beneficiaries] money, and unfortunately because that is not rice, they’re going to buy rice in the market price; and that puts pressure and inflationary in the market because they’re going to compete with the people who have money and then with only 4Ps,” he continued.

Since 4Ps beneficiaries fall under the “vulnerable poor” category, Navarro said that giving them rice would take away the pressure of having to buy high-priced rice and competing with those who have money.

“The President is saying that we will consider the proposal and they will take a look on how to implement this proposal,” he added.

As of this writing, however, there are no details yet about how much rice would actually be given, since the DA is still studying how to implement the program if it pushes through.

PBBM Considers Giving Rice Instead of Cash to 4Ps Beneficiaries
Image Credit: Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program / Facebook

“Enhancements or Improvements are Welcome” – DSWD

In response, the DSWD welcomed the suggestion to distribute rice instead of money to 4Ps beneficiaries. Through a text message, DSWD co-spokesperson Irene Dumlao told Inquirer.net that the department was ready to participate in meetings that involve changes in the implementation of the 4Ps program.

“As an implementing agency, we welcome enhancements or improvements to the delivery of our program [4Ps],” Dumlao stated. “We will participate in meaningful discussions about the proposal, and if approved, the department will ensure an effective and efficient implementation.”

Currently, among the benefits being received by 4Ps beneficiaries are: a health grant of PHP 500 per qualified household every month, and an education grant of PHP 300 per month for a total of 10 months as part of the school year.

Will rice aid eventually replace money in the 4Ps program? Only time will tell if the Philippine government, through the DSWD, would make such a major change to its anti-poverty program.

Speaking of 4Ps, aside from health and basic education, the Philippine government is encouraging program beneficiaries to get tertiary education support. Check out this article to learn more.