A party-list lawmaker called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development to prioritize farmers and fisherfolk as eligible beneficiaries in the DSWD’s move to accommodate new Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) recipients.
In a statement on Saturday, AGRI Party-list Representative Wilbert Lee said that in line with the DSWD’s plan to add 1.3 million households in 4Ps, he filed House Resolution (HR) No. 89 last July 27, seeking the inclusion of qualified farmers and fishermen.
“Although the figures reported by the DSWD are still in the process of final validation, the cash assistance and slots for those who ‘graduated’ from the program, and are not considered extremely poor anymore, must be given to the poorest and most neglected sector and population–the farmers and fisherfolks, as long as they qualify with the criteria set forth in the 4Ps Act,” Lee, a member of the minority, said.
Last July 20, DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo said 1.3 million Filipino households “graduated” from extreme poverty and would no longer receive conditional cash grants from the government, freeing up to P15 billion for new beneficiaries of the poverty reduction program.
Section 6 of Republic Act No. 11310 or the 4Ps Institutionalization Act states that farmers and fisherfolks, among other vulnerable sectors, shall be automatically included in the standardized targeting system to be conducted by the DSWD, provided, that to be eligible for the cash grants, households or families must meet the criteria spelled out in the law.
Farmers and fisherfolk were reported to have the highest poverty incidences among the basic sectors in 2018.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), agricultural workers are only being paid an average daily wage of P331.10 in 2019.
“As I and the AGRI Party-list stated earlier, we laud [President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’] prioritization of the Agriculture sector. Serious attention should be given by the government to our farmers and fisherfolks now. We must concretely acknowledge their fundamental role in our economy, address their plight and give proper value to their contributions through tangible and impactful assistance to their children and households,” Lee said. — DVM, GMA News