Social and Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian says the agency can able to catch up with their budget utilization for the rest of the year once the reassessment of the list of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries is completed by end of September.

Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian has expressed confidence in catching up with their budget utilization for the rest of the year once the reassessment of the list of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries is completed by the end of September, as announced during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday.

“Medyo meron lang tayong sa delay for the disbursing this year dahil kung matatandaan natin, ang basis ng 4Ps ay iyong listahan, and the last Listahan… Listahan lll was conducted ng period of 2019/2020. These were the COVID years ng lockdown,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian mentioned that the 4Ps program experienced delays in its payout this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He elaborated that during the pandemic, around 700,000 families that had been initially removed from the list due to reported improved conditions found themselves struggling once more due to the economic repercussions of the crisis.

“Ang naging desisyon ng departamento ay mag-reassess. So, ongoing iyong reassessment ngayon at matatapos iyan ng September para talagang masigurado natin na masala natin nang mabuti iyong dapat kasama sa 4Ps program, kasama sa program. Iyong dapat hindi na kasama sa program, hindi na kasama sa program,” Gatchalian said.

He mentioned that these families had requested a reassessment to determine their eligibility for the 4Ps program. Moreover, Gatchalian noted that an additional 700,000 families remained unassessed due to the protocols enforced during the lockdown.

These figures combined to total around 1.4 million families, a segment of the original 4.4 million households initially enrolled in the program. He assured that, once the reassessment was completed, the DSWD would proceed with disbursements to the newly confirmed beneficiaries.

Gatchalian emphasized that the distribution of funds would still be facilitated through cash cards issued to the beneficiaries. This year, the DSWD received a budget of P151 billion for its social protection programs, with the 4Ps program obtaining the largest portion of the funding.

Among the agency’s other initiatives is the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, aimed at aiding individuals and families during times of crisis and emergencies. Gatchalian reported that, as of July 2023, the utilization rate for the AICS program stood at approximately 40-50 percent.

He reiterated that the DSWD would continue to offer assistance through this program for medical emergencies, deaths, disasters, and educational shortfalls.

He also pointed out that a significant portion of the funds allocated for senior citizens’ semestral pensions and supplemental feeding programs in daycare centers had yet to be utilized.

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