President Arroyo witnesses signing of agreement on cash transfer program for poor families
Manila (19 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo witnessed today, September 19, 2007, the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the DSWD and the municipalities of Esperanza and Sibagat in Agusan del Sur; Lopez Jaena and Bonifacio in Misamis Occidental; Pasay and Caloocan cities in Metro Manila, for the implementation of the Ahon Pamilyang Pilipino (APP) Program.
The MOA signing was held in Malacanang with Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral and the local chief executives of the six (6) municipalities, namely: Esperanza Mayor Leonida P. Manpatilan; Sibagat Mayor Thelma Lamanilao; Lopez Jaena Mayor Zenaida S. Azcuna; Pasay City Mayor Wenceslao O. Trinidad; and Caloocan Mayor Enrico R. Echiverri, as signatories.
The APP is a poverty reduction strategy that provides conditional cash transfer to extreme poor households to allow the members of the families to meet certain human development goals. It aims to break the poverty cycle by addressing the issues of low educational achievement, high levels of maternal and infant mortality rates, high malnutrition rate and rate of child labor among the poor.
With its unique feature of directly providing money to poor families based on conditions, such as sending their children to school or bringing them to health centers regularly, the APP is one of the successful programs to combine social assistance with investment in human capital," Secretary Cabral said.
The Secretary explained that the beneficiaries were identified based on a scoring system utilizing the socio-economic characteristics of the household, such as non-ownership of assets/appliances, type of housing unit, level of educational attainment of household head and non-access to water and sanitation facilities.
The APP offers health cash grant and educational cash grant packages to the beneficiaries. Under the health package, a household is entitled to P6,000 a year or P500 per month for preventive health check-up and vaccines.
The education cash grant, on the other hand, provides P3,000 for ten (10) months or P300 monthly per child for school needs. A maximum of three (3) children per household is covered by the package.
"Over all, a household with three (3) qualified children shall have a subsidy of P15,000 annually," Secretary Cabral disclosed.
To ensure that children go to school, receipt of money is contingent on enrolment and regular attendance of at least 85 percent of school days. Along health and nutrition of children and mothers, receipt of money depends on regular visits of children to health centers for immunization and preventive health care as well as improvement in the nutritional status of the children and regular prenatal visits of pregnant women.
The money will be released to the most responsible adult person in the household, usually the mother, through Electronic Card Banking System.
Secretary Cabral clarified that the money provided in APP is not mere dole-out but aims at sustainable long-term poverty reduction as the conditionalities are directed toward social development and empowerment of the beneficiaries.
Under the agreement, the DSWD shall provide the conditional cash transfer to the identified beneficiaries and shall conduct regular monitoring of the program implementation as well as in conducting capability building to workers at the local government unit level.
The local government units shall ensure that education and health services required by the APP program are available to beneficiaries.
The agreement will be effective for five (5) years until December 2012. (DSWD) [top]