MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a measure institutionalizing the government’s strategy in reducing national poverty.
Duterte signed the Republic Act 11310 or the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act” last April 17. A copy of the signed law was released by Malacañang on May 22.
The law aims to provide financial assistance to poor Filipino families that meet certain qualifications, to uplift marginalized sectors from poverty and to improve the quality of life for all.
Among those qualified for the program are farmers, fisherfolks, homeless families, indigenous peoples and those in the informal settler sector, and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas including those without electricity.
Under the law, qualified poor household beneficiaries will be provided with conditional cash transfers for a maximum period of seven years to improve the health, nutrition and education aspect of their lives. The National Advisory Council may recommend a longer period under exceptional circumstances.
Qualified household beneficiaries on a nationwide basis shall be selected by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) using a standardized targeting system.
Standardized Targeting System, under the law, refers to a system identifying who and where the poor households are through the generation of a socio-economic database of poor households that is adopted by national government agencies and implemented by the DSWD.
The DSWD is tasked under the law to conduct a regular revalidation of beneficiary targeting every three years.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELIGIBLE BENEFICIARIES
To be eligible for the cash grants, household or families must meet the following criteria:
Classified as poor and near-poor based on the Standardized Targeting System and the poverty threshold issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority at the time of selection;
Have members who are newborns up to 18 years old as well as those who are pregnant at the time of registration;
Willing to comply with the conditions specified by this Act
The following schemes shall be observed in the implementation of conditional cash transfer:
Financial aid of not lower than P300 per child enrolled in daycare and elementary programs for a maximum of ten months per year;
Financial aid of not lower than P500 per child enrolled in junior high school for a maximum of 10 months per year;
Financial aid of not lower than P700 per child enrolled in senior high school each month for a maximum of 10 months per year;
Health and nutrition grant shall not be lower than P750 per month for a maximum of 12 months per year.
The law states that all qualified beneficiaries of 4Ps shall automatically be covered in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).
“The necessary funding for their coverage shall be sourced from revenue generated pursuant to Republic Act No. 10351, otherwise known as the “Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012,” the law stated.
For continued program eligibility, the law obliges all qualified household-beneficiaries to comply with the following conditions: pregnant women must avail of pre-natal services, give birth in a health facility and receive post-partum care and post-natal care for her newborn; children from newborn to five years old must receive regular preventive health and nutrition services, including check-ups and vaccinations; children aged one to 14 must avail of deworming pills at least twice a year;
Children five to 18 years old must attend elementary or secondary classes at least 85 percent of their time; at least one responsible person must attend family development sessions with DSWD, at least once a month.
Failure to comply with set conditions will subject the household-beneficiary to case management process which may lead to the termination of cash grants.
Any person who will be found falsifying their data or information in the registry to avail of the conditional cash transfer program may be imprisoned for a month up to a year or be fined with not less than P10,000 but not more than P100,000.
The 4Ps started during the time of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It became the flagship anti-poverty program during the time of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and was continued by President Duterte. (with details from Rosalie Coz)
After its postponement on January 22, the one-on-one interview with President Rodrigo Duterte will push through on Tuesday (January 28), said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday.
The January 22 schedule for the one-on-one interview was postponed due to “pressing family matters”.
“Due to pressing matters, the tête-à-tête Part 2 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo has been moved to January 28, 2020 at the Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace at 5:00 p.m.,” a previous media advisory read.
This will be the President’s second têtê-a-têtê. The first televised interview was held last September 2018.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law imposing higher taxes on alcohol, e-cigarettes, and other vapor products.
The Republic Act no. 11467 was signed to raise additional funds for the government’s Universal Healthcare Law.
Under the newly signed law, taxes on distilled spirits shall increase to P42 per proof liter this year and will increase by 6% every year starting 2025. There will also be an ad valorem tax imposed on the products which is 22% of the alcohol prices.
Meanwhile, taxes of wine and beer products will increase by P50 and P35 per liter respectively. These products will also be subjected to a 6% tax increase every year starting in 2025.
For vapor products, a pack of heated tobacco will have an excise tax of P25 this year. Salt nicotine products will have excise taxes set at P37 per milliliter while cigarette taxes are set at P45 per pack this year.
Taxes of all vapor products will increase by 5% every year in the succeeding years.
The law, meanwhile, exempts medicine for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol in value-added tax.
By 2023, the law will also exempt value-added tax on prescription drugs for cancer, mental illness, tuberculosis, and kidney disease.
However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has vetoed section 5 of the Republic Act.
“The sin tax law that has been approved, there’s one provision that was vetoed, section 5, regarding the authority of the court to first grant seizure of properties as well as searching,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
President Rodrigo Duterte’s satisfaction rating has reached a new record high, according to the recent survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS).
Based on the 4th Quarter 2019 SWS Survey, Duterte got a 72% excellent net satisfaction rating, which is seven points higher compared to his September rating of 65%.
Malacañang welcomed the survey result saying President Duterte still has the support of the people.
“This means that the President has the support of the people, for which he is very thankful. But more than that, the people support him because they feel his legacy of real change,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar .—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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