AUSTRALIA STEPS UP SUPPORT FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION IN THE PHILIPPINES
The Australian Government is increasing its support for the Philippine Government’s social protection reform agenda.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith, and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Juliano–Soliman today signed an agreement for Australia to provide Php200 million (A$5 million) through a Technical Assistance Facility to support the scaling up of DSWD’s social protection programs, particularly the conditional cash transfer program, known locally as the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program.
The Program provides cash grants to poor families with children aged 0-14 years’ old based on compliance with targets for attendance at school and regular visits to health centres. The Facility will support analytical work, program evaluation, communications linked to the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program, as well as other priority technical assistance needs of the Department.
“Australia acknowledges DSWD’s strong leadership in implementing one of the Aquino administration’s priority poverty reduction programs. By using the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction to effectively target assistance to poor families, the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program can play a critical role in breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty,” Ambassador Smith said.
“We are thankful to the Australian Government for this funding support which will go a long way in achieving this administration's goal of inclusive economic growth. This partnership with Australia will help the DSWD manage the scale-up of its anti-poverty programs to ensure that the poor will not be left behind in the country’s journey to economic progress,” Secretary Soliman said.
An AusAID-World Bank study showed that about 90% of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program come from the poorest 40% of the population. It also showed that providing cash grants to targeted poor families can reduce food poverty by 5.5 percentage points. Program reviews have also shown increased school enrolment rates and use of health services by the beneficiaries indicating the program is on track to achieve its intended outcomes and contribute to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for basic education and maternal health.
“Australia is pleased to be part of a broad partnership that includes the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to support the scaling up of the Program to cover three million poor households by the end of 2012, which will make it one of the largest conditional cash transfer programs in the world,” Ambassador Smith said.
Australia is providing complementary support to respond to the increased demand for educational services in areas where the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program is being implemented. Australia has provided Php560 million (A$14 million) for the construction of day care centres and classrooms through the KALAHI-CIDSS community-driven development program, which is also implemented by DSWD.
The Facility is part of a broad program of support Australia is providing to DSWD to enhance the Department’s institutional capacity to meet the demands of its rapidly expanding programs, through support to human resource development and management and strengthened financial systems.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Juliano–Soliman and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith signed an agreement for Australia to provide Php200 million (A$5 million) through a Technical Assistance Facility to support the scaling up of DSWD’s social protection programs, particularly the conditional cash transfer program, known locally as the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program.