Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries plant trees, clean esteros

Squatters in the Philippines ...Government should harness the millions of indigent families under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in national environmental programs starting at the barangay level in order to cope with the growing threat of climate change.

"There must be reciprocity in the current Conditional Cash Transfer program (CCT) to erase criticisms that the program is just another form of a dole out," Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara insists.

Angara is proposing that the government through the barangays, in coordination with their respective local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), require the services of the family recipients nationwide in government programs promoting and safeguarding the environment.

"Able family members, as identified by the barangays, the LGUs and the DSWD, should at least lend their services in activities like tree planting and the cleaning of esteros, rivers and other waterways within their respective areas," Angara proposed.

Under the proposed 2012 P1.816-trillion General Appropriations Act which was approved recently by the House of Representatives, the Department of Budget has allotted provisions for the so-called "lifeline to the poor."

The said lifeline includes P39.5 billion for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to reach about three million beneficiaries or indigent households from the current 2.3 million.

Another is P1.2 billion for Social Pension for indigent Senior Filipino Citizens to benefit 198,370 indigent senior citizens aged 75 years and above will be given P500 each monthly as social pension. The proposed amount is 38% higher than the 2011 level of P871 million which covers 138.960 beneficiaries.

Also included in the lifeline program for the poor is P2.9 billion for the DSWD's supplemental feeding program to help provide nutritious meals to 1.6 million children enrolled in day-care centers nationwide.