DSWD intensifies program convergence to address poverty

QUEZON CITY, March 10 --   Amid the rise in poverty incidence in the first half of 2014, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was cited by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) head Arsenio Balisacan to have been instrumental in tempering poverty from rising any further.


To support this observation, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman shared that according to the 2014 World Bank Benefit-Incidence Analysis, Pantawid Pamilya has a positive effect on the poverty gap through increasing the income of partner-beneficiaries and moving them closer to the minimum income level needed to transcend poverty.


“The positive observations are enough reason for us to intensify the implementation of the program and to also clean the list of cash recipients to ensure that only the rightful beneficiaries will get the assistance. This way, we can maximize our resources for those who are really in need,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Julian-Soliman said.

DSWD is also looking into the possibility of increasing the amount of cash grants given, subject to the availability of funds. Increasing the cash grants will address higher inflation and rising food prices, thus protecting beneficiaries from sliding back into poverty.

Sec. Soliman further explained that the temporary delisting of beneficiaries who are not complying with program conditions may have also lessened the number of families who have cash to spend, thus affecting the poverty incidence data, at least for the period that the study was made.


To date, a total of 4,442,781 families are enrolled in the Pantawid Pamilya.


Sustainable livelihood

To safeguard the long-term growth of Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries, DSWD also provides livelihood and/or employment to poor communities through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).


SLP invests in building the capacity of people to engage in economic activities so they are able to stand on their own. The program has two tracks: the Micro-enterprise Development, wherein beneficiaries are given start-up capital to start a small business; and Employment Facilitation, wherein participants are provided with technical skills training, occupational guidance, and job referrals/placement.

From January 2011 to November 2014, SLP served 464,190 families.


Community-Driven Development

Anchored on empowering the community, DSWD also implements the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community Driven Development program (KALAHI-CIDSS).  Under this program, the people themselves decide on issues directly affecting them, as well as draw up solutions in partnership with the Local Government Units (LGUs).


Through KALAHI-CIDSS, the people become part in the development of their communities and become active citizens.

Since its launch in 2003, the program has funded a total of 9,812 sub-projects with 6,362 already finished and benefiting around 1.5 million household beneficiaries.


Convergence strategy

Pantawid Pamilya, KALAHI-CIDSS, and SLP are DSWD’s three core programs that contribute to poverty reduction.

Each program responds to an aspect of poverty to ensure a comprehensive response, and when implemented together form the DSWD’s convergence strategy.

“By 2016, we are aiming to raise 2.3 million households to a level of self-sufficiency through the convergence strategy,” Sec. Soliman stated.


Knowing the real poor

Sec. Soliman said that knowing the poor is the first step to providing appropriate interventions as well as ensuring that resources are utilized efficiently and distributed equitably. To achieve this, DSWD uses the Listahanan or the National Household-Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

The NHTS-PR is an information management system that helps the Department identify which communities in the country are most in need of government interventions.

“It gives a face to poverty by enabling us to know the poor more personally – to know them by their names, where they live; know their families [through] data and [through] real relationships established,” Sec. Soliman said.

DSWD conducted the first round of assessment in 2009 and will conduct the second round this year.


Protecting the vulnerable groups

Aside from the three core programs, DSWD also implements protective programs for vulnerable groups such as older persons, persons with disabilities, children in conflict with the law (CICL), and victims of human trafficking, among others.

Programs for these groups are social pension for indigent seniors, supplementary feeding for children, community-based programs, and provision of temporary shelter, among others.

She also added that the Department continues to strengthen its disaster management program through monitoring and intensified collaboration with the local government units to better respond to the needs of the public during calamities.

DSWD remains committed to serving the poor, the vulnerable, and the disadvantaged through its social protection programs. The Department will further intensify its various programs in order to address poverty and improve the quality of life of the marginalized sector. (DSWD) ###