Ninety percent of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have remained poor despite being under the program for years, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.

In its performance audit on 4Ps, the COA said 3,820,012 of the 4,262,439 active beneficiaries of the program have been receiving payouts for seven to 13 years with a total of P537.39 billion cash grants 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,” the report read.

The COA also pointed out that the 4Ps act limits the stay of beneficiaries to seven years.

“Under this law, the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) will delist a beneficiary from the program after reaching the end of their seventh year, regardless of whether or not they have crossed the poverty threshold,” it explained.

Applying the seven-year limit, the COA said 2.6 million students would no longer receive 4Ps benefits by 2026.

The COA recommended the hastening of the completion of the National Household Assessment as there were “challenges confronting the DSWD in updating its list of poor households and IT systems.”

“[B]y (calendar year) 2026, almost all active beneficiaries will be delisted from the program, hence the Listahanan and the IT systems need to be updated and ensure controls are working effectively to
cater for the new beneficiaries,” the COA said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently removed 187,000 families from the program after moving up to the “non-poor” distinction. John Ezekiel J. Hirro