PH seeks $300M more from WB to stretch conditional cash transfer program

Published by rudy Date posted on April 5, 2019

By: Ben O. de Vera, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Apr 05, 2019

The Philippines will borrow an additional $300 million from the World Bank to continue the implementation of the government’s conditional cash transfer program for another two years starting next year.

World Bank documents showed the Department of Finance sought the loan from the Washington-based multilateral lender to partly finance the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

The “Philippines Social Welfare Development and Reform Project 2” will cost $3.44 billion, but the government will shoulder the bulk or $3.14 billion.

The proposed financing will be tackled by the lender’s board for approval in May.

According to the World Bank, the additional financing for the 4Ps will support and strengthen not only the implementation but also the program monitoring and evaluation.

“The beneficiary households will continue to be selected using ‘Listahanan,’ that is expected to be updated in the course of 2019. The project will particularly track compliance of households within priority beneficiary groups,” it said.

The priority groups are: first, the pregnant women and children aged zero to 5 years old, in order to address malnutrition; and, second, children aged 15-18 years old, to address high dropout rates.

“The annual budget for the delivery of cash transfers under the [4Ps] is in the order of $1.7 billion, so it is expected that the additional financing will cover about 9 percent of the annual budgetary amount over 2020 and 2021. The Asian Development Bank is also preparing a follow-up parallel project, expected to provide additional financing to [4Ps] cash transfers,” it added.

The World Bank said that since the 4Ps was implemented in 2008, it has “played a critical role in poverty reduction (by an estimated 1.5 percentage points per year according to 2015 data), expanding coverage to reach 4.4 million households, (around 20 percent of the country’s population), and providing benefits averaging 10 percent of income of the poor.”

The World Bank added three rounds of evaluations have so far showed the program’s “continued impact in closing income gaps in school enrollment and use of essential health services.”

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