Robby Bucoy Echavez, MAEd, RPm, RPsy, MAGC
As far as Venus and Rubelyn and their families (Appendix A), and I would assume with the millions of Filipinos who are part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), are concerned, the answer is a resounding yes. 4Ps being the most comprehensive social welfare program in the Philippines to date, is by and large, from the viewpoints of social planners, implementers, social commentators, and even its staunchest detractors, highly relevant to the point of being considered essential. So clear is the answer to this question that many will ask if the relevance of community welfare and services need be discussed at all! However, a brief problematizing (Bacchi, 2009) of the issue reveals that there is more to this question than meets the eye. The welfare that states provide to its citizens is not a new invention. Since tribes have had structures and peoples their polities, many forms of welfare programs, packages, and policies have come and gone and there is no reason to believe that the 4Ps will not, at some future point, follow the same fate. In fact, even before such a social call can ripen and reecho throughout society, many Filipino policy makers, legislators, and intellectuals have called for its abolition.The problem then calls for a reconceptualization or another representation. It can be asked, “What form of community or social welfare and services can nations feasibly provide that best respond to its citizens needs?” Put this way, the answer to the relevance question ceases to be self-evident and begins to invite a weightier and more cautious analysis. I will not claim to respond to this question here. Suffice it to say that when represented like this, one begins to think outside the “Beveridge-style welfare…[that] is outmoded for the passivity they impose” (Cannan & Warren, 2003,p. 11) and is thrust towards “new forms of social participation [and] solidarity” (p. 12). The decades-old tensions revealed from the vantage point of the social value function (Sen, 2017) and the culture of poverty (Hays, 2003) when analyzing social welfare and services from the aforementioned reconceptualized perspective become utilizable theories, models, and instruments that push social thinkers to seriously come up with alternatives to existing welfare systems. From a more practical, experience-near approach, welfare has once again stolen the limelight, thanks (or no thanks) to the nearing Philippine elections and the aid packages to help Filipinos heal, recover, and rebuild after the pandemic. What are the millions of Filipinos thinking about the 200-peso monthly ayuda? How did they feel when the president raised this to 500? When candidates for president spoke about accounting for the social costs of fiscal policy and administration, what new welfare systems can be engendered? What perceptible changes will the next presidency have in raising the Quality of Life and wellbeing of Rubelyn, Venus, and the millions of Filipinos who depend on welfare?
Bacchi, C. (2009). Analysing policy: What’s the problem represented to be? Pearson Australia.
Cannan, C., & Warren, C. (Eds.). (2003). Social action with children and families. Routledge.
Hays, S. (2003). Flat broke with children: Women in the age of welfare reform. Oxford University Press. Humphries, B. (Ed.). (2000). Research in social care and social welfare. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Jansson, B. S. (2020). Social welfare policy and advocacy: Advancing social justice through eight policy sectors (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications Inc. Sen, A. (2017). Collective choice and social welfare. Harvard University Press.
Interview Summaries I conducted an interview with Mrs Venus Ilustrisimo, 43 years old, from Bantayan Island, last February 5,2022 around 7:30 in the evening. Her husband’s name is Rodrigo Ilustrisimo, 43 years old. She has two children, Jay Markim Ilustrisimo, 17 years old, and Mona Rose Ilustrisimo, 15 years old. They are beneficiaries of the 4Ps program. Venus joined the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2007. She is so happy to be a part of the program, because it really helps defray monthly expenses for their children’s food, medicine, and education. She receives PhP 6,300 every 2 months from the 4Ps. Delivering her baby was paid for by Philhealth. 4Ps provides conditional grants to beneficiaries worth PhP 6,000 a year or PhP 500 per month per household for health and nutrition expenses, and PhP 3,000 for one school year or PhP 300 a month per child for educational expenses. 4Ps provides cash grants to the poorest of the poor and keeps children age 0 to 18 healthy and in school. A household with three qualified children can have a subsidy of PhP 1,400 per month or PhP 15,000 annually as long as they comply with the conditions.
Written by Brandon C. Lee
I spoke with two 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) beneficiaries: Rubelyn Coyoca, a 40-year-old massage therapist and 4Ps Parent leader, and his son Reymart Coyoca, a 13-year-old Grade 7 student. Rubelyn’s three children, including his son Reymart, are recipients of the 4Ps. Her family has greatly benefited from the program. It assists them in meeting their necessities as well as her children’s education and health. She spent the money she received from 4Ps to buy her children’s essentials, such as vitamins. She also saves 1,000 Pesos in the bank for her children’s future and for emergencies because the 4Ps only provides them money every two months, making it difficult for them to meet daily demands, especially since her husband died. 4Ps is extremely beneficial since it assists parents who are unemployed or unable to send their children to school. To put it another way, it benefits them financially. The program also encourages youngsters to participate in various activities and broaden their knowledge. It supported Rubelyn’s children in pursuing their passions, becoming professionals, and living their aspirations. Reymart received 600 Pesos when he was in elementary school. This decreased to 500 when he reached junior high school. The program motivated Reymart to work hard and be a good son and student. Written by Rose Anne T. Nacorda