ADB approves $500-million loan for conditional cash transfers
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $500-million loan to further support the Philippine government's conditional cash transfer program.
The ADB on Wednesday, June 10, approved the Expanded Social Assistance Project, which funds the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Introduced during the Arroyo administration in 2008, the program doles out cash every two months to around 4.3 million households, as long as children meet school attendance targets and get regular health checkups. Women also need to avail of pre- and post-natal care and parents must participate in family development sessions.
"Our evidence shows that this is working. The 4Ps program has helped 1.5 million people escape poverty since it began in 2008. Through this project loan and technical assistance support, ADB is helping the Philippines expand these gains," said ADB vice president Ahmed Saeed.
In addition to the loan, the ADB will provide $3.1 million in technical assistance to help improve the family and youth development sessions, update the list of eligible poor households, and provide a package of livelihood and other support to lift up to 3,000 households out of poverty.
The amount will also support information technology reforms to automate compliance verification and grievance redress, and prepare for the integration of the 4Ps database with the government's national ID system.
With this latest loan agreement, the ADB's total lending to the Philippines has reached $2.6 billion so far this year, exceeding its record lending of $2.5 billion in 2019. Bulk of the loans fund the coronavirus pandemic response.
Before the pandemic, the ADB said it was poised to loan the Philippines $3.3 billion in 2020 for infrastructure projects.
Independent impact evaluations and ADB analyses have showed that the average enrollment rate for children aged 16 to 17 years old in 4Ps households is 88%, significantly higher than the average rate of 70% for children in non-4Ps households.
The cash grants also do not discourage 4Ps parents from looking for and retaining employment.
Incidence of hunger is lower for 4Ps households as well.
The loan builds on the ADB's decade-long support for 4Ps, with total assistance to the program now reaching more than $1.5 billion. – Rappler.com
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program started during the Aquino administration. This has been corrected.