Pantawid Pamilya benefits more poor Filipinos

Pantawid Pamilya benefits more poor Filipinos

As the flagship poverty alleviation program which invests in human development, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program has expanded rapidly from 786,523 households in 2010, when the Aquino administration took the helm in government, to more than 4.4 million eligible households to date.

For 2014 alone, the government has poured in more than P48 billion for the cash grants of the beneficiaries.

On the other hand, for the first quarter of 2015, the program has been able to provide grants amounting to P9.2 billion to the active households.

According to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the DSWD expanded the coverage of the program in 2014 to include the 15-18 age bracket to ensure that the children-beneficiaries will graduate from high school, and have a higher rate of employability.

High school beneficiaries receive a higher grant amount of P500/month.

In February 2015, the high school expansion registered 1.01 million 15 to 18-year old children nationwide. Of these, 252,276 are in grade school while 754,374 are in high school.

A total of 333,673 high school beneficiaries graduated in March 2015. Out of this number, 13,469 graduated with honors.

“The expansion of age coverage for the education grant gives them a fighting chance to move forward in life,” Sec. Soliman said.

She cited exemplary Pantawid beneficiaries who graduated with honors in March 2015, such as Alyanah Terite, the batch valedictorian of Pasay City Science High School; David Louie Manansala, valedictorian of Maligaya High School, Quezon City; Marlito Soriano, a Lumad from the B’laan tribe in General Santos City, South Cotabato who received a full scholarship at the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, United States; and  Edy Rose Tayab, who despite her disability graduated as top nine (9) in her batch at Apayao National High School in Bukidnon.

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) study indicated that the expansion of Pantawid Pamilya significantly contributed to the increase in enrollment of pre-school and elementary students. As partner-beneficiaries, parents are required to send their 3-18 year old children to school, and they must attend at least 85 percent of the school days.

PIDS did the impact evaluation while the Social Weather Station (SWS) gathered data from Pantawid respondents.

The effectiveness of Pantawid Pamilya in transforming the lives of beneficiaries was verified by the results in the 2nd impact evaluation which are:

  • The program keeps older children in school and reduces the number of days they have to work. 94% of Pantawid children attend classes 85% of the time, a stark difference from the low 55% of non-beneficiaries. Considering that the high school-aged cohort is when children are likely to drop-out of school, it is important to keep them in school. Therefore, though the data to be presented is not enough evidence to show that this will be the case in repeated samples, only 4% of Pantawid children aged 12 to 15 years old drop out of school as opposed to the 9% of non-Pantawid students. Furthermore, incidence of child labor (specifically in days worked in a month) for children aged 10 to 14 is lower by 6 days with program beneficiaries compared to non-Pantawid children.
  • Pantawid Pamilya increases households’ investments in education. To be more specific, Pantawid households spent P206 more per school-aged child per year compared to non-beneficiaries on education-related items.
  • Pantawid Pamilya increases mothers’ access to maternal care. 80% of Pantawid mothers had at least four (4) antenatal check-ups, close to the national average of 84% (National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), 2013). Also, seven (7) in 10 live births in the last five (5) years by Pantawid mothers were delivered in a health facility, compared to the 5.5 in 10 among non-beneficiary mothers. Moreover, incidence of postnatal check-ups within 72 hours after birth by skilled health professionals is approximately 21% higher with Pantawid beneficiaries and such check-ups are done in health facilities 17% higher with Pantawid mothers.
  • The program improves children’s health and access to healthcare services. 86% of Pantawid children between ages six (6) months and six (6) years received Vitamin A supplementation as opposed to 74% of non-beneficiaries. Similarly, 35% of beneficiaries received iron supplementation, compared to 23% of their counterparts. In addition, 19% of Pantawid children aged 0 to two (2) years old received preventive services in public health facilities as opposed to 12% of non-beneficiaries. Among children aged 2-5 years old, 49% Panta0wid beneficiaries visit health centers for bi-monthly weight monitoring, compared to the 25% of non-Pantawid children. Lastly, more Pantawid children aged 6-14 years old (78%) received deworming pills at least once a year compared to non-beneficiaries (69%).
  • The program does not encourage dependency from its beneficiaries. There is no evidence that Pantawid Pamilya leads to dependency or decreased work effort among adults in beneficiary households. On the contrary, results indicate that among working-age household members who are employed and continue to look for additional work, the proportion is much higher of Pantawid beneficiaries with 17% as opposed to 11% for non-beneficiaries. In relation, the program negates dependency on “adult-specific goods” (i.e. alcohol, tobacco, gambling, etc.), evident in the lack of statistically significant evidence to support claims that show otherwise.
  • Pantawid Pamilya allows parents to aspire for better futures for their children. To put things in perspective, 74% of Pantawid parents have higher hopes for their children finishing college compared to 68% of non-beneficiaries. Also, about 87% of Pantawid parents expect their children to live a better life than themselves, compared to 81% of non-Pantawid parents. Lastly, self-assessed poverty status among Pantawid beneficiaries is 7 percentage points lower as opposed to non-beneficiaries.
  • The program encourages the trial use of modern family planning. Findings show that among 15 to 49-year old women who gave birth in the last 5 years, 74% from Pantawid households indicated their use of any modern family planning method as opposed to 68% from non-Pantawid households. This was a result of the grantees attending Family Development Sessions (FDS) (as compliance to program conditionality) which include lectures on family planning.

The results of the impact evaluation released in 2014 shows that the program is on track and is achieving its objectives of keeping children healthy and in school, and in creating avenues for the poor to have improved quality of life.

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