Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero. Photo by Christian Cardano from Escudero’s office
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial aspirant Francis “Chiz” Escudero is calling for a higher budget allocation and the review of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) after poverty incidence rose in the country amid the pandemic.
Escudero, who previously served as a senator, said that there should have been a substantial increase in the budget for 4Ps in the 2022 budget.
“Now is not the time to be scrimping on economic assistance for the poor because millions of Filipinos are still struggling with the impact of the pandemic, and we do not expect recovery anytime soon, if we’re being realistic,” Escudero said in a statement on Tuesday.
Escudero likewise urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to review its roster of beneficiaries under the 4Ps, saying there seems to be a disconnect in government poverty data and poverty strategy.
“There are over 10 million Filipinos who cannot afford to put food on the table and 4.2 million working-age Filipinos who do not have jobs. The DSWD should review its list of 4Ps beneficiaries because data show that more Filipinos are poor and need assistance,” Escudero said.
Poverty rate in the country rose to 23.7 percent in the first half of 2021, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). This was higher than the 21.1 percent recorded in 2018 and 27.6 percent in 2015.
The increase in
among the population during the first half meant an increase in the number of poor Filipinos to 26.14 million from 22.26 million in 2018.
“Marami ang nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemya. Marami ang nagkasakit at namatayan. Ang kailangan ng mga Pilipino ay tulong at pag-asa,” Escudero said.
“How can we strengthen the 4Ps with the same budget? How can we help local governments provide better services to the people as they strive to recover?” he added.
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