'Giant' poverty alleviation programs unite
KALAHI-CIDSS, 4Ps, et al converge for enhanced social service delivery
Zamboanga City (31 May) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development is stepping up efforts to enhance the delivery of social services to the poor by joining together several major poverty-alleviation programs such as the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan ? Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), among others.
This was bared after the KALAHI-CIDSS national conference, held in Tagaytay City, on the scaling up of the Project, which is seen to cover over 200 poor municipalities nationwide in the following years.
This number reflects the total number of areas, including the old municipalities (those that have implemented the Project in the earlier phases), and new municipalities that are still in the process of selection.
The proposed budget for the scaling-up for KALAHI-CIDSS alone is seen at US$60 Million or approximately Php3Billion. However, this amount is only a rough approximate, since more funds are seen to be generated from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Obama administration.
In Western Mindanao, 36 municipalities are seen to implement KALAHI-CIDSS in the coming two years.
The KALAHI-CIDSS impact
KALAHI-CIDSS has utilized millions for community sub-projects that reflect the most immediate needs which were identified and implemented by the poor community folks themselves through various training and capacity-building activities. The Project has given not just very important roads, water systems, schools, health stations and more, basic services that should have been available everywhere, but more importantly it has provided the people with a practical knowledge.
A KALAHI-CIDSS volunteer from Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur shares: "I used to think that we did not have a voice to say what we need in our community. KALAHI-CIDSS has shown us that we only have to use this voice to tell our leaders what we need. We were just so complacent before. It is as simple as that."
Lapuyan Mayor Daylinda Sulong shares in the joy of her constituents: "They are finally an empowered people who know what they need, and who know how to realize these needs."
4Ps to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty
Meanwhile, 4Ps is another giant poverty alleviation program which provides "conditional cash grants" to extremely poor families in an effort to improve their health, nutrition and education of their children.
4Ps has both short and long-term objectives. The short-term seeks to provide them with cash to help them cope with the burden of poverty, while the long-term is to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty that exists especially at the poorest and remotest areas in the country.
In order to receive the cash grants, families must meet certain requirements such as sending their children to school; pregnant women must undergo special health care until the birth of their babies; children must undergo preventive health check-ups.
However, certain extremely poor areas, as proven by the implementation of KALAHI-CIDSS, lack the infrastructure such as schools and health stations to be able to help the poor families in meeting the 4Ps requirements. As a result, many suffer from non-inclusion to the cash grants. The convergence efforts are seen to address this gap, and more.
Not just the DSWD now
The convergence of poverty-alleviation programs does not stop there. In a more optimistic sense, this is only the beginning. The Self-Employment Assistance ? Kaunlaran (SEA-K), one of the longest-running programs of the DSWD is also seen to tie-up with the two major programs, as well as the several others currently at play to ease the lives of the poor Filipinos.
On the national and local levels, other agencies have become aware of these DSWD programs through enhanced transparency, and have already begun to plan out possible expanded convergence efforts, complementing and enhancing the current ones. PhilHealth and the Department of Health (DoH) have already tapped the DSWD's National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) databank of poor households all across the country for their own poverty-reduction programs.
"The results brought about by the implementation of KALAHI-CIDSS and 4Ps as separate programs before are very promising. But with the convergence of not only these two major programs, but to include the many others currently being implemented, we grow more hopeful each day that everyone is now standing firm and are resolved to fight this dreaded poverty," shares Regional Director Teodulo Romo, Jr.
"We are very pleased that more stakeholders have realized that helping uplift the lives of the poor is not the job of one, or two, or three agencies alone, it has become the job of everyone," Director Romo said. (PNA/PIA ZC) [top]