The Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that 90% of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries are still poor amid the continuous release of payouts. 

The state auditor said in its performance audit that 3,820,012 of the 4,262,439 active 4Ps beneficiaries have been with the program for seven to 13 years, with P537.39 billion cash grants released as of June 30, 2021.

“This means that 90% of the active household-beneficiaries remained below poverty threshold even after being in the program for a long period of time,” COA said. 

However, the COA’s findings are in contrast with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which said that it delisted 1.3 million people in July as 4Ps beneficiaries because they were no longer tagged as poor. 

COA said some 2.6 million students benefiting from 4Ps may not finish their studies as the law that institutionalizes the conditional cash transfer program puts a seven-year limit on the stay of beneficiaries and does not consider whether they have crossed the poverty line.

“This is crucial because the last two years of school under senior high school are designed to equip the students with skills that will increase their chances of landing a job,” the COA said.

A survey consisting of 165,029 families nationwide revealed that there were 19.99 million Filipinos living below the poverty line last year. It is higher from 17.67 million recorded in the comparable period in 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. 

The country posted an 18.1% poverty rate in 2021, higher than the 16.6% rate in 2018.

Ronald Espartinez