Conditional cash transfers are just one of the programs under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The DSWD is the government agency responsible for providing social protection services to Filipino families in need. The DSWD has various programs that help its beneficiaries, including those who are underprivileged and those living in poverty.
Also Read: DSWD Targeted Cash Transfer (TCT) Program
What makes conditional cash transfers unique is that it gives their beneficiaries a chance to improve their lives by providing them with the means to do so. This is done by giving them cash grants and other incentives, depending on how well they perform in specific activities such as health checkups for pregnant women and children below five years old, hence, the term “conditional cash transfers“. To learn more about the DSWD’s CCT program, keep reading below.
What is the DSWD Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT)?
The goal of the MCCT Program is to reach out to families who are more vulnerable and poor but are not covered by the regular cash transfer program. This is because they were excluded from the list of households that were targeted by the NHTS or Listahanan.
This program aims to provide financial assistance to children and families the regular CCT does not cover.
Majority of migrant families spend most of their time on the streets since it is how they earn a living. Indigenous people (IP) families are typically seen in urbanized or rural regions. Families with disabled children are those whose children have long-term mental, sensory, or physical impairments that can prevent them from fully participating in society. On the other hand, child laborers work to provide for their families. These include children who work in hazardous conditions and are exposed to child sexual exploitation.
The MCCT seeks to assist homeless, former street children in the transition from living on the street to a more decent dwelling unit; to facilitate access of IPs in GIDA and other FNSPs to health, education and other basic social services; zero deaths among infants and children under five years old; zero deaths among pregnant women under normal conditions; all 3-5 years old children are availing early childhood care and development services; all 6-18 years old children in target areas are in school; and third-degree malnourished children under five years old are rehabilitated.
The Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) program is a program that aims to reduce poverty among families living in urban poor communities. This program covers all expenses for the child’s education and nutrition and provides basic health services, if necessary. The MCCT is conditional on school attendance, regular participation in health education activities, and ensuring that children are not employed as laborers by their parents or guardians.
MCCT also aims to return children to school and facilitate their regular attendance, including access to Alternative Delivery Mode and other special learning modes; facilitate access to health and nutrition services through regular visits to health centers; enhance parenting roles through participation in Family Development Sessions (FDS), and reunite children from the streets with their families.
Beneficiaries of the MCCT will receive cash grants if they meet the following conditions: weekly attendance at FDS for the first two months; once a month attendance at FDS and family counseling sessions for the following months; attendance at Alternative mode of learning or formal schools; visits to health centers; and residing in a permanent residence after six months of social preparation.
MCCT supplies HSF, IPs in GIDA, and FNSP with financial grants and necessary social welfare measures. In addition, it offers partner-families with additional support services or interventions that enhance their access to health and educational resources until they are ready to be integrated into the normal CCT.
A. Straight Grants
a. Education grant of P300 per month for every beneficiary kid enrolled in daycare, pre-school, and elementary school.
b. Education grant of P500 per month for beneficiary child enrolled in high school.
c. Health grant of P500 per family recipient
Education grants are awarded for each dependent kid, up to a maximum of three, commencing with the youngest and without replacement.
B. Service Support Intervention For HSF
a. Assistance with shelter in the sum of P4,000, which may be provided as early as the first month of membership and for a maximum of 12 months. The lessor receives payments, not the recipient.
b. Access to employment and livelihood possibilities, such as cash-for-work and the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), may be made available to members in their fifth month of membership.
Regarding IP in GIDA
Other incentives may be employed for community-initiated initiatives or activities that generate cash for the community.
Target beneficiaries of MCCT are:
- homeless street families,
- indigenous peoples in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA), and
- families in need of special protection (FNSP).
These are called “partner families” in the program.
Mainstreaming of MCCT beneficiaries into the Regular CCT shall be determined based upon the assessment of the caseworker/community facilitator given the following criteria:
1. Identified “Poor” by Listahanan based on the result of the Proxy Means Test
2. With eligible members aged 0-18 years old children and/or pregnant member during first monitoring period in the RCCT (eligibility requirement shall follow the existing requirements of the RCCT)
3. ‘Compliance to conditionalities from the last six (6) months before mainstreaming assessment. Active registered families who were assessed as compliant
to the conditionalities of the program as applicable:
• 85% attendance in education services (3-18 yrs. old monitored
• 85% compliance with the availment of health services
85% compliance to FDS
4. Homeless families already staying for at least 3 consecutive months in a safe home or
Note: Succeeding assessment will be conducted on a yearly basis.
- They must have children aged 0-18 years old and/or with pregnant member of the family at the time of selection
- They must be willing and committed to comply with the program conditionalities and cooperate in the helping process; and
- They must be excluded from the NHTS database and the Pantawid Pamilya Program
How to Process DSWD Conditional Cash Transfer
The caseworker, community facilitator, or municipal link will prepare the beneficiaries for the mainstreaming process by providing them with the necessary information and orientation. This will be done through the Family Development Sessions and the mainstreaming modules.
After reviewing the status of the MCCT database, the regional focus with the CMT will then engage in a pre-orientation session to prepare for the mainstreaming process. The Community facilitator or caseworker will facilitate this.
The regional preparation phase involves reviewing the family information and ensuring that all the necessary steps have been completed. This includes the inventory of compliance reporting and payment processing.
The MCCT beneficiaries’ mainstreaming process will begin once the database has been reviewed and the list of them submitted to Listahanan, which will include Segregating the beneficiaries who were part of Lists 1 and 2. Those who were not part of the list will be given extraordinary validation.
Here’s Why Conditional Cash Transfers Work
Critics say that the CCT program could not create jobs or provide adequate health care for the poor. However, the government argues that it has helped improve school attendance and reduce violence in areas plagued by conflict.
The government is planning on spending even more on its flagship program, which aims to improve school attendance and reduce violence in certain areas. By 2015, a quarter of the country’s population is expected to be covered by the program, which is unprecedented in the country’s history. Among the beneficiaries will be the disabled, abandoned children, and those who have been displaced by conflict or calamities.
The success of the cash transfer program has been attributed to its sustained global attention. It started as early as the 1990s in various parts of Latin America and Brazil. The program has been implemented through various permutations in different countries, including metropolitan areas such as New York. Despite the widespread use of these programs, persistent poverty still remains a major issue in many areas.
The concept of cash transfer programs is simple: They provide cash grants to families to help with their children’s education and health needs. These funds are usually given to the families after they meet the government’s requirements. Unlike traditional welfare programs, which were designed to benefit everyone, cash transfer programs are more conservative.
The goal of cash transfer programs is to punish the parents of the poorest families for their failure to provide adequate care for their children. Instead of directly intervening, the State uses this method to monitor the welfare of the children.
Cash transfer programs aim to change the lives of the poor by addressing their root causes. In other words, they are not designed to affect the people who are currently affected by poverty immediately. Instead, they are aimed at addressing the issue in the future.
Similar to other new programs, cash transfer programs have mixed results. As with other initiatives, they need to be re-calibrated and refined to reach their goals. This article will review the state of the cash transfer program in the Philippines. We will also look at its potential shortcomings and examine its applications. In addition, we will talk about the recommendations that policymakers and scholars have made to improve the program.
Four million poor households are receiving conditional transfers as part of the government’s flagship anti-poverty program, known as the 4Ps.
According to the DSWD’s first quarter report, the 4Ps have been fully covered in all areas of the country. This includes the municipalities, regional, and provincial levels.
The program’s goal is to invest in the country’s human capital by providing financial support to the families of poor children and keeping them in school.
The cash transfers are based on the household’s compliance with these conditions. In the first quarter of this year, the compliance rates for both the health and education components were high. In addition, the percentage of children immunized against diseases has increased significantly.
One of the most significant social challenges that the country faces today is the high number of maternal deaths. Since the CCTs have encouraged women to seek health care before and after childbirth, this has been very important.
According to Dinky Soliman, the former social welfare secretary, women in 4P families are more likely to have at least four prenatal visits. This has resulted in a significant increase in their compliance rate, from 54 percent to 64 percent. An impact evaluation of the program revealed that mothers in these families receive more health care services before and after childbirth.
Apart from helping children, the program also aims to empower parents. Through Family Development Sessions, this component provides them with the necessary tools and resources to look after their kids.
The 4Ps have been regarded as the country’s biggest social protection program. It is similar to programs in other Latin American countries, such as Mexico’s Oportunidades and Brazil’s Bolsa Familia.
The Bolsa Familia program is one of the most prominent initiatives of Brazil’s economic and social transformation. It was first implemented in 2003. Since then, it has reached over 46 million people.
In the past five years, Brazil has lifted over 22 million people out of extreme poverty. The richest 20% of the country’s population has seen its wealth decline, while the poorest 20% has gained.
In Mexico, the Oportunidades has been credited with reducing the number of illness cases among children enrolled in the program.
After five years, the 4Ps have been shown to impact the communities they serve positively. In a study conducted by the University of Denver, researchers noted that the 4Ps helped reduce the incidence of civil conflict in the Philippines.
The study, which was conducted by the Philippine Armed Forces, showed that the number of reported conflicts decreased significantly in the areas where the program was implemented in 2009. This is because the country is home to numerous violent communist and Islamic groups.
The study also noted that cash transfers can help the public trust the government and provide actionable information about insurgents. Also, these transactions increase the risk of insurgents joining them once they become active.
Cash transfers are believed to be more effective in reducing conflict than community-driven development programs. These transactions are less likely to be intercepted and can be carried out without attracting the attention of insurgents. In addition, in-kind and physical aid can increase the number of resources that both parties have available to fight.
A study conducted on Colombia’s version of CCTs revealed that these transactions help increase the number of people enrolled in areas affected by violent conflicts. Like the Philippines, Colombia is also affected by separatist guerilla movements.
Various international organizations have praised the program for its contribution to improving education and health in the developing world.
Some people are not impressed by the 4Ps. They claim that they are just Band-aids designed to provide temporary social protection.
The IBON Foundation, however, sees the program as a dole-out program that only exacerbates the country’s debt. The Asian Development Bank and the World Bank partially fund the program.
According to IBON, the 4Ps are not sustainable and have minimal impact on reducing poverty. A local urban poor organization, KADAMAY, also claims that despite the huge budget allocated for the program, the CCTs have not improved the lives of the poor.
In February this year, KADAMAY’s leader Carlito Badion said that instead of using the funds allocated for the program to provide CCTs, the government should focus on developing industries that can create jobs for the poor.
Despite the country’s impressive economic growth of 7.8% during the first quarter of this year, the income gap in the Philippines has not decreased. According to the latest statistics from the country’s statistical agency, the poverty incidence has not changed.
A study conducted by the Philippines Institute for Development Studies revealed that the 4Ps had not reached all of their intended beneficiaries. According to the study presented at a recent global development conference, the program has a leakage rate of around 29%.
Only 7.2% of the income poor who were given cash transfers became non-poor. The DSWD uses a combination of methods to identify its beneficiaries. These include geographic targeting and a proxy-meant method known as the NHTS-PR. The municipalities that have high poverty incidence rates are then selected.
The NHTS-PR uses a sliding scale to determine the poor households affected by the program. If a household has a pregnant woman or her children below the age of 14, they are eligible for the program.
The NHTS-PR has estimated that over 5.2 million poor families are in the Philippines. Over 80% of them live in rural areas.
High school completion
According to Reyes, the drop in school enrollment among children from 4P families is significant. This is because the kids from these families are no longer eligible for cash transfers.
According to a study conducted by the Public Interest Data Systems, the school attendance rate for 4P families drops dramatically as children grow older.
There is no substantial difference in school attendance between children from 4P and non–4P families.
In a previous policy paper, Reyes noted that the Philippines’ version of the cash transfer program is similar to that of other Latin American countries. For instance, in Mexico, the Oportunidades provides cash assistance to students until they reach the age of 22. It also provides economic incentives to graduates who finish high school before the age of 22.
In Brazil, the Bolsa Familia provides greater financial assistance to adolescents than to children. It also covers them until they reach the age of 17 years old.
He noted that the program should focus on high school instead of elementary completion since there are better job opportunities for graduates from this level of education.
According to a study conducted by Dr. Celia Reyes of the PIDS (Philippine Institute for Development Studies), graduates of high school in the Philippines earn about 45% more than those who have only attended elementary school. This suggests that the 4Ps can benefit from the program by investing in human capital.
Boys left behind
Many boys from the poorest families leave the school system early to help their families earn more money. During a Global Development Conference held in 2015, it was widely agreed that income disparity is one of the most significant factors that prevent people from achieving full development. A study by Alejandro Hoyos and Hugo opo on the Latin American experience revealed that over a decade of investments in community development projects (CCTs) have significantly reduced inequality in the region.
It was also revealed that even though the number of people living in poverty had decreased, it had not always been reduced. This is due to various factors, such as the deteriorating standard of education.
According to a report by the World Bank, the increasing number of boys from the lowest socioeconomic groups leaving schools to look for work or join gangs is a major issue that needs to be addressed.
The report also noted that in 2011, more boys than girls dropped out of school. Around six out of every ten teenagers were working instead of studying.
This issue has to be addressed in the country, as it may well happen in the near future. One of the most effective ways to address this issue is by implementing programs that provide different levels of support for different age groups. For instance, instead of giving a monthly payment of P300 for each child, the government should provide more support to help children finish high school.
Future plans: Modified CCTs
According to the program, it should focus on providing aid for five to ten years instead of the usual two to three. This would allow the beneficiaries to finish high school.
According to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the government is considering extending the program’s grant to ensure the beneficiaries finish high school. This would allow them to get more employment opportunities.
Aside from increasing the number of beneficiaries, the government is also planning to extend the program’s coverage. One of the ways to do this is through a modified conditional cash transfer (MCCT). This method will allow the government to provide aid to families that have been affected by conflicts and calamities.
The children who are considered for inclusion in the program are those who have various forms of disability. They may have been abandoned or forced to work.
The DSWD’s NHTO has started a validation program to address the leakage rate. This involves validating the poor households in each area. The list is then posted in prominent locations in the community to encourage the public to react if they see an incorrect family.
Staff members of the NHTO then receive complaints and queries. These are then forwarded to a local verification committee, which handles these appeals and complaints.
As the Philippines pursues the Millennium Development Goals, it is now more important that the government focuses on bringing development to all sectors of the society. Long-term returns on human capital investment will not be seen immediately. Therefore, it is important to remember that CCTs serve as a social investment.
According to the National Statistics Board, the government needs to allocate about P180 billion annually for the implementation of its poverty-reduction program. This year’s allotment has increased to P44. billion.
Despite the government’s financial constraints, the 4Ps have been able to make significant progress in improving the quality of education and addressing various social issues.
The 4Ps are expected to cover around 28 million poor Filipinos in 2015. This is a quarter of the country’s population and the largest number of people covered under a social protection program in history. Even as the economy grows, we must continue to ensure that the poor are not left behind.
Video: In numbers: The conditional cash transfer program | ANC
Here’s a report on where the DSWD’s Conditional Cash Transfer law has effectively improved families’ lives. The report also highlights areas where it can do better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about the DSWD’s modified conditional cash transfer program.
1. Why is it called “modified”?
This strategy is modified because it combines CCT and various conditionalities. These modifications include the implementation of different modes of action and the targeting of benefits.
2. Who are considered “families in need of special protection”?
FNSPs are individuals who have been displaced due to armed conflicts or natural disasters. They are usually placed in temporary shelters or evacuation centers.
3. What is the coverage of the MCCT?
The implementation of the MCCT has affected 3,774 street families and over 100,000 families in IPGIDA. Similarly, over 51,824 families have been affected by the FNSP.
4. What are the objectives of the MCCT Program?
MCCT seeks to:
• Assist HSF in the transition from living in the streets to a more decent dwelling unit;
• Facilitate access of HSF, IPs in GIDA and other FNSP to health, education and other basic social services;
• Zero deaths among infants and children, and children under five years old;
• Zero deaths among pregnant women under normal conditions;
• Ensure all 3-5 years old children are availing of early childhood care and development
• Ensure all 6-18 years old children in target areas are in school;
• Ensure third-degree malnourished children under five years of age are rehabilitated.
5. What are the obligations of the partner family under the MCCT?
- Attendance to school either in formal or by Alternative Delivery Mode of Learning
- Availment of health care services in
accordance with the Department of Health (DOH) protocols
- Attendance to Family Development Sessions
The DSWD has adopted a very promising approach to address the needs of the most vulnerable sector in our society. It is a holistic approach that not only provides direct services to indigent families but also helps them overcome poverty and achieve self-reliance. The MCCT is one of DSWD’s programs that seeks to transform lives by empowering families towards economic independence.
We hope this article has helped you better understand the program. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave them in your comments below or visit the DSWD’s official website for further information.