The Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) CCT program is a government initiative that seeks to alleviate poverty in the Philippines by providing cash grants to eligible households. The program is means-tested, meaning that only those households who meet certain criteria are eligible for the cash grant.
The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Progam (4Ps), the Philippines’ version of the conditional cash program that Latin American nations have used as a model, is one way that the Philippine government demonstrates its genuine commitment to fighting poverty.
The fundamental component of CCTs is the distribution of financial and non-financial resources to the most impoverished families with school-aged children in exchange for them fulfilling obligations aimed at enhancing their skills.
DSWD Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT)
The 4Ps is a national community-driven CCT program implemented by the Philippine government. It is primarily targeted at low-income households with children aged 0-18 years old. By making investments in the development of human capital, particularly the health and education of children from beneficiary households, the initiative seeks to end the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
While giving immediate financial assistance to the home, the program’s goal is to encourage investments in children’s education and health to stop the intergenerational transfer of poverty.
The beauty of the CCT program is that it is not a handout; rather, it is a hand-up. Households who receive cash grants from the CCT program are required to comply with certain conditions to continue receiving the benefits of the program.
For example, households are required to ensure that their children aged 0-14 years old attend school and receive regular health checkups. Pregnant women are also required to avail of pre-and post-natal care, as well as attend pre-natal classes.
The CCT program has been operational for over 10 years now, and it has helped millions of Filipinos out of poverty. A recent study found that the CCT program has lifted 4 million households out of extreme poverty, and lowered the national poverty rate from 26.6% in 2012 to 21.6% in 2015.
The CCT program is not without its critics, however. Some have argued that the program encourages dependency, as households become reliant on the cash grants they receive from the government. Others have critiqued the targeting criteria of the program, arguing that it should target the poorest of the poor households instead of just those who meet the minimum income requirements.
How To Reach The Poor?
The National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction is a centralized database that contains information on all households in the Philippines. The system uses proxy means testing to identify poor households.
Proxy means testing uses observable characteristics of households to predict their income and consumption levels. These characteristics include asset ownership, housing characteristics, and utility services.
The system then generates a score for each household, which is used to determine if a household is eligible for a particular social protection program.
The NHTS-PR system was piloted in Select provinces before its nationwide rollout. The pilot showed that the system was able to accurately target poor households. The system was able to achieve a 97% accuracy rate in identifying poor households.
Moreover, the system helped reduce leakages and under-coverage rates in social protection programs. As a result of these successes, the NHTS-PR system is now being used by all government agencies that provide social protection programs in the Philippines.
CCT Program Targets Poor Households
The Cash Transfer program is one of the social protection programs that use the NHTS-PR system for targeting purposes. The CCT program provides cash grants to poor households on the condition that they comply with certain requirements, such as sending their children to school and bringing them for regular health check-ups.
What are the Benefits Of DSWD Cash Transfer (CCT)?
The CCT program has numerous benefits for both households and communities. Some of these benefits include:
Reduced extreme poverty – CCT has helped reduce extreme poverty in communities where it has been implemented. A study conducted by the Asian Development Bank showed that extreme poverty declined from 6% in 2012 to 3.5% in 2015 in regions where CCT was being implemented.
Increased school attendance – The CCT program has also contributed to increased school attendance among children aged 0-14 years old. A study showed that there was a significant increase in school attendance among children from CCT beneficiary households, compared to children from non-beneficiary households.
Improved health outcomes – The CCT program has also improved health outcomes among beneficiaries. A study showed that there was a significant decrease in child mortality rates among beneficiaries, compared to non-beneficiaries.
How does the program work?
It is the DSWD’s responsibility to implement the CCT program. Each municipality’s poorest households are identified using the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction. A proxy means test is used in this approach to identify low-income families.
Once a household has been identified as eligible for the CCT program, it will receive a cash transfer every month. The cash transfer can be used by households to meet their basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Families are also encouraged to use the cash transfer to pay for their children’s education and health care expenses.
Cash grants are released every quarter through partnering banks or payment centers. Payment centers are located in areas that are easily accessible to beneficiaries. To receive their cash grant, beneficiaries must present their ID card or any valid ID with their photograph at the payment center. Once they have received their cash grant, they can use it however they see fit.
Video: In numbers: The conditional cash transfer program
Watch the video and learn more about DSWD Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).
The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is one of the most successful poverty reduction programs in the world. It has helped millions of poor families escape from poverty, and it is continuing to help more people every year.
Despite the successes, there are some areas where the DSWD could improve its CCT program. Most importantly, the DSWD should continue to focus on improving the implementation of its conditionalities so that they have a real impact on reducing poverty