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A total of 375,224 households in the region will benefit from the rice subsidy provided by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

Arnel Garcia, Department of Social Welfare and Development regional director said the rice subsidy is a commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte that was made during his first State of the Nation Address in 2016, to ensure that all Filipinos will be free from hunger and poverty.

The PHP600 subsidy shall be given to the 4Ps beneficiaries.

Garcia said the rice subsidy will be implemented based on the provisions of the General Appropriations Act of 2017 which was reiterated by DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

Garcia said Taquiwalo has in turn issued a memorandum to the regional offices of the department that explicity stated that the rice assistance will be in the form of cash.

The household beneficiaries in Bicol as of January 31, 2017 are as follows: Albay–77,947; Camarines Norte–32,663; Camarines Sur-113,360; Catanduanes- 15, 796; Masbate-75,015 and Sorsogon-60,443.

In Bicol, Garcia said the provision for rice subsidy covers only the “registered, active and compliant” 4P households from ‘regular Conditional Cash Transfer’ or CCT and ‘Modified Conditional Cash Transfer’ or MCCT, including those who will be classified as ‘transitioning beneficiaries.’”

“They must be monitored by the program and have been compliant with at least one program conditionality monthly before they receive the same (rice subsidy),” he added.

Garcia said a household who has one child who attends school regularly as a condition for the 4Ps cash subsidy will get rice subsidy for the month the child has been compliant.

He said another scenario is when a household complies with both “FDS attendance and applicable health conditionalities” even if there is no compliance to education (conditionality) will be given rice subsidy for the months they have been compliant.

FDS refers to the “Family Development Sessions” conducted monthly by social workers assigned to clusters of 4Ps households in several barangays where they tackle a range of topics such as proper waste disposal, disaster mitigation or dengue prevention in the communities.

On the other hand, the “health conditionalities” refer to health programs undertaken in the community by barangay health workers and rural health units such as immunization for the newborn and “weighing” of schoolchildren to check against malnutrition which 4P members are required to uphold.

He said a complaint household is entitled to PHP600 per month of rice subsidy or a total of PHP7,200 per year.

Garcia said the rice subsidy will be given on a bi-monthly basis.

“The first subsidy will be released this month (March 2017 payout),” he said.

Garcia said it is given only for their compliance in January 2017.

Households that are compliant in December 2016 but not in January 2017 will not be given the said subsidy.

For the next payout, which is in May 2017, the compliant household will receive a rice subsidy of PHP1,200 if it is compliant for both February and March.

“But if the household is compliant in February but not in March, it will only receive PHP600 and not PHP1,200,” Garcia explained.

He said the rice subsidy was a commitment made by President Duterte.

“It was adopted as a policy by this administration and was included in GAA 2017 for DSWD,” said Garcia.

He said for now, coverage of rice assistance is until December 2017, the last payment of which shall be received by compliant households (4Ps beneficiaries) in March 2018. (PNA)