Gov’t gets $500-M loan
The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will get a fresh $450 million (about P22.5 billion) in funds to continue providing cash grants to poor families for their children’s health and education needs.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Asian Development Bank (ADB) country director for the Philippines Kelly Bird on Monday signed the loan agreement for the $500-million expanded social assistance project (Esap) extended by the Manila-based lender for the 4Ps.
“We thank the ADB for again extending its support to our sustained efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy and our people. This budget-support loan will not only help bridge our funding gap for our COVID-19 response but will also strengthen our social protection program as we restart our economy and help people get back on their feet amid the pandemic,” Dominguez said.
“This budget-support loan under the Esap is part of the Philippine government’s external financing program for 2020, with $450 million of the fund proposed for accelerated disbursement by next month,” the DOF said.
“The Esap loan, which covers a maturity period of 29 years inclusive of an eight-year grace period, brings to $2.6 billion the total financing package extended by the ADB so far to the Philippines for its programs to address the COVID-19 crisis,” the DOF added.
The ADB earlier said that on top of the Esap loan, a $3.1-million technical assistance would be provided to help improve the family and youth development sessions, update the list of eligible poor households, provide a package of livelihood and other support to help up to 3,000 households graduate out of poverty, support IT reforms to automate compliance verification and grievance redress, and prepare for the integration of the 4Ps database with
the government’s national ID system.
“The Philippine government is boosting social investment in Filipinos to break the decades-old intergenerational cycle of poverty. The 4Ps provides vulnerable households with an income supplement to help their children become educated, stay healthy and leave poverty for good. Our evidence shows that this is working. The 4Ps has helped 1.5 million people escape poverty since it began in 2008. Through this project loan and technical-assistance support, the ADB is helping the Philippines expand these gains,” ADB vice president Ahmed Saeed said in a separate statement when the lender’s board approved the loan on June 11.
“Independent impact evaluations and ADB analyses have confirmed the 4Ps’ significant benefits to households. For example, the average enrollment rate for children aged 16 to 17 years old in 4Ps households is 88 percent, significantly higher than the average rate of 70 percent for children in non-4Ps households. The cash grants do not discourage 4Ps parents from looking for and retaining employment. In fact, employment outcomes in 4Ps families are the same as non-4Ps families. In addition, the incidence of hunger is lower for 4Ps households,” the ADB said.
To date, the ADB’s cumulative financial assistance for the Philippines’ 4Ps already amounted to over $1.5 billion.
Last year, President Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11310, which institutionalized the 4Ps being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development while also providing more cash subsidies to its current 4.3 million beneficiaries nationwide.