The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that local government units (LGUs) are one of the major partners in the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program by providing the supply-side support, including monitoring, and grievance resolution.

However, the Department’s engagement with LGUs does not include the identification of beneficiaries. This is done to maintain impartiality and to avoid the perception of possible political influence.

This developed as Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos raised that the Pantawid Pamilya would have been less prone to leakage if the DSWD tapped LGUs as partners instead of exclusively implementing it. Sen. Marcos, however, did not elaborate the extent of his proposed DSWD-LGU partnership.

LGU engagement

The entry of the program to an LGU starts with the conduct of the Pre-Supply Side Activity where a Memorandum of Agreement is drawn between DSWD and the LGU to formalize partnership regarding program implementation.

Under the agreement, the LGU will commit to provide infrastructure like health stations and educational facilities, to enable the beneficiaries to comply with the health and education requirements.

Apart from this, advisory committees at the provincial and municipal levels are organized headed by the governor and the town mayor, respectively.

These advisory committees oversee the over-all implementation of Pantawid Pamilya in the Provincial and City/ Municipal. They are also responsible in ensuring that the commitments of the Local Government stipulated in the MOA are fulfilled. In addition, they are also tasked to facilitate and address complaints and requests endorsed to the committees.

Selection of beneficiaries

To explain further why LGUs are not involved in the selection of beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya, DSWD emphasized that the beneficiaries were taken from the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction or Listahanan, a database of poor families.

At present, the Department is now winding up the second assessment of poor families which will update the 2009 database. The updated database will then become the basis for the identification of government social protection programs and services including the Pantawid Pamilya.

For this 2nd assessment, DSWD has enhanced the targeting system and is now implementing quality control measures such as random re-interviews and spot checks, to ensure that the assessment will produce accurate and reliable results.

Among the enhancements made to the targeting system is the development of new proxy means test (PMT) model. The PMT is a statistical model that estimates income of poor households based on household characteristics such as housing materials, education attainment and livelihood of each household member, among others.

Improvements in the new model such as inclusion of barangay characteristics as among the determinants of poverty status and installation of a 2nd stage screener to weed out possible inclusion errors, resulted to the decrease in model-based error rates, from having an inclusion and exclusion error rates of 22-35% in the 2009 model to 6.9-19.3% in the new model.

An inclusion error is when a non-poor family is classified as poor, while an exclusion error is when a true poor family is classified as non-poor.

Resolved issue

With Sen. Marcos bringing up the issue on leakage rate in Pantawid Pamilya, DSWD emphasized that the issue has long been resolved.

The issue of the alleged leakage stemmed from an article published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) using  2009 data which has been used to incorrectly calculate that P19 billion of current program funds did not go to intended beneficiaries.

The ADB has already clarified this and expressed that it continues to support the DSWD on the implementation of Pantawid Pamilya.

“DSWD has resolved the leakage problem and that this is no longer the current situation of the program,” the ADB press statement said.

DSWD maintains that it continues to address leakages in the program through the Beneficiary Updating System and the Grievance Redress System (GRS).

To date the BUS and the GRS have already delisted more than 77,000 ineligible beneficiaries.

The GRS provides a platform for addressing concerns and complaints.  Majority of the cases recorded and responded were issues on the exclusion of qualified families and the inclusion of ineligible families. Other issues involved erring beneficiaries.

Moreover, the GRS received 51,557 complaints through the GRS. Of this, 30,670 have been resolved as of June 2015. The complaints include issues on eligibility, misdemeanor, and payment, among others.

The GRS also sanitizes the database of beneficiaries by removing cases of double entry or duplication, fraud, missing beneficiaries, waived membership to the program, and unregistered beneficiaries, among others. (DSWD)