Palaweños are reacting to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration’s plan to expand the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to include pregnant and breastfeeding women to ensure children’s health in their first 1,000 days.

They expressed concern about why the government would consider expanding the coverage of 4Ps when it is still struggling to provide their payouts since 2023.

Others suggested that the government should prioritize those who truly deserve to be included in the 4Ps rather than those who are already somewhat better off in life.

Some individuals have also stated that they underwent interviews with Listahanan for the 4Ps. However, despite their children growing older, they have not yet been enrolled in the program.

“Wala na nga natatanggap ang mga 4Ps beneficiary magdagdag pa kayo? Saan kayo kukuha ng pondo? Meron pa ba???” one asked under a Palawan News post on FB.

“I-priority [niyo] na lang [yung] karapat dapat na makasali, hindi yung kung sino pa yung medyo mayroon at hndi naman ganun kahirap talaga sa buhay—parang sila pa yung nakakasali. Kumusta naman po yung totoong hirap talaga,” added Jane Quillano Galgo.

“Naku, ha, baby palang nga [ang] anak ko na-interview na ako for 4Ps na yan at Listahanan. Ngayon mag 7 years old na [ang] anak ko di pa rin nakasali. Naunahan pa ako ng mga bago lang na-interview,” stated Kerra Kristine Balmonte-Peregrino.

In response to these comments, Jane Vidal, the monitoring and evaluation officer for 4Ps in Palawan, clarified that beneficiaries who previously received cash grants but are not getting them presently may be inactive or have not yet undergone assessment by Listahanan, or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

Listahanan is an information management system that determines who and where those in poverty reside in the country.

“May mga hindi kasi na-reactivate tapos hindi rin sila na assess sa Listahanan. Karamihan ng cases ganoon kasi nasa batas natin under Republic Act 11310 na dapat ay dumaan sila sa standardized assessing, at Listahanan ang gumagawa noon,” Vidal said.

“Different case yong mga na-hold na yon. Ang sabi namin, mag-comply lang sila sa mga conditionalities because active pa rin naman sila sa system,” she said.

She noted that many of them have been classified as “non-poor,” so even if they are active in the system, there is no computation due to their status, which is why they are not receiving their cash grants. Those classified as “non-poor” need to undergo reassessment by Listahan to determine if they still qualify to receive cash grants.

Vidal further elaborated that during Listahanan’s household visits, a significant number were identified as non-poor, categorized as Level 3, or living well, based on the information management system’s criteria.

However, she also stated that during the Pantawid staff revalidation of their status, it became evident that some of them still remained at Level 2, classified as “subsistence,” indicating “hindi pa nila kayang tumayo on their own.”

“Kapag Level 2, baka puwede pang ma-retain kapag may monitored pa sa family, sa household. Kailangan pa silang ma-assess ng Listahanan,” Vidal said, adding that they have forwarded their names to the Listahanan that will conduct another round of assessment.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday met with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health, and other concerned agencies to present to them studies and recommendations so they could evaluate the current implementation of the 4Ps and reform it.

His presentation was an offshoot of a meeting held in February to discuss proposed 4Ps transformations, such as suggesting an increase in the grant amounts for beneficiaries and providing cash grants for the first 1,000 days (F1KD) of children.

The proposed adjustments aim to boost the purchasing power of 4Ps beneficiaries and incentivize them to adhere to program conditions, thereby preventing malnutrition and stunting among children.

On June 11, Marcos backed the DSWD’s plan to provide a monetary allowance to pregnant and breastfeeding women. The aim is to encourage them to utilize healthcare facilities for the well-being of their children during the crucial first 1,000 days.

“Okay. Yes. Let’s do that. On the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, bring the mother, the family into the system. That’s really good,” he said.

He instructed both the DPWH and the NEDA to finalize the figures and submit them to him. This is so that necessary adjustments can be made, stressing the significance of providing additional support.

Under the current program, a 4Ps beneficiary-family receives financial support as follows: ₱300 per child per month for 10 months for daycare and elementary education, conditional on their child’s school attendance; ₱500 per child per month for 10 months for junior high school with the same conditionality on their child’s school attendance; and ₱700 per child per month for 10 months for senior high school with the same condition.

In addition, they receive ₱750 per month per household for 12 months, provided that their children aged 2-14 years old undergo growth development and monitoring, deworming, and attend family development sessions.