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PH gets $300-M World Bank loan

Money to help finance cash transfer program for poor families until 2022
By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:10 AM June 29, 2019

The government can continue providing cash to poor families so they can send their children to school and keep them healthy, thanks to a fresh $300-million loan approved by the World Bank supporting the “4Ps” or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

In a statement Friday, the Washington-based multilateral lender said its board of executive directors on June 27 green-lighted additional financing for the 4Ps, from which 8.7 million Filipino children from 4.2 million families benefit.

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“This new funding will finance cash transfers to poor families for a period of two years as well as help combat malnutrition and promote early childhood development,” the World Bank said.

“It will also provide technical assistance to the Philippine government to help strengthen implementation and impact, including more efficient payment systems, monitoring and evaluation, and family development sessions,” it added.

Given a yearly budget of about $1.7 billion for the 4Ps, the World Bank loan will account for 9 percent of the cost needed until June 2022, it said.

Last April, President Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11310 or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act, which institutionalized the 4Ps while also providing more cash subsidies to its beneficiaries.

Based on the World Bank’s 2018 poverty assessment report, the 4Ps being implemented in 145 cities and 1,483 municipalities nationwide was able to increase by 4.9 percent the enrolment among 12 to 17 year-old kids; raised by a tenth the enrolment among 16 to 17 year-old children; reduced by 30 percent the enrolment gap between boys and girls aged 6 to 14, and provided greater access to maternal and child health services among poor mothers.

Among the active beneficiary-families, 41 percent come from Luzon, 21 percent from Visayas and 38 percent from Mindanao, World Bank data showed.

The bulk of beneficiary-households in Mindanao live in the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, while 15 percent were from indigenous communities, the bank said.

In 2016, the World Bank disbursed a $450-billion loan to cover about 7 percent of the 4P’s implementation cost for the period 2016 to 2019.

“This additional financing shows the World Bank’s continuing commitment to the country’s social protection program as it grows with greater sophistication to tackle a broader array of development concerns, including child malnutrition. Since 2008, the 4Ps has promoted safer birth deliveries and has improved poor children’s access to educational and health services. We are proud to support programs such as this that help millions of families overcome poverty,” Mara K. Warwick, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, said.

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“Over the last decade, the Philippines has undertaken significant steps to build its social protection system. Besides the 4Ps, the government is updating the national household targeting system (Listahanan). It has also expanded its social pension program and has provided livelihood opportunities for the poor, including food and other subsidies to compensate for higher inflation, and it is promoting use of cash transfers to respond to natural disasters,” the World Bank noted.

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TAGS: 4Ps, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, World Bank
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