The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that it is set to release rice subsidy in the form of cash amounting to Php 600 per month to the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) starting this March.

The amount will be added to the current cash grants provided to the beneficiaries every month as part of the investment on the health and education of the poor households benefiting from the program.

Around 4.4 million households are expected to receive the additional grant.

The additional cash grants intended as rice subsidy was first promised by President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his First State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered last July, 2016 in the House of Representatives.

“Following the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2016, the rice subsidy hopes to address the hunger problem that these poor households continue to battle. The President wants that the poor households are able to eat everyday” said DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

Taguiwalo also said that only households, who are active and compliant with the program conditionalities, are entitled to receive the additional P600.

The additional cash grant as Rice Assistance/Subsidy is included as part of the Php 72,115,230 cash grant budget approved for calendar year 2017.

4Ps is a social protection program of the national government. It invests in the health and education of poor households primarily of children aged 18 and below. Households receive their cash grant provided that they comply with the program conditionalities.

These conditions include school attendance of at least 85 percent per month for children enrolled in the elementary or high school.

Children aged 5 and below would need to undergo preventive check-up in health centers as mandated by the Department of Health (DOH), while children enrolled in the elementary must receive deworming pills twice within the school year.

On the other hand, pregnant women must receive pre and post natal care based on DOH’s protocol as part of preventing infant and maternal deaths and instilling in them the value of good health to ensure that the investment on the health of children will bring an output of productive and healthy citizenry or workforce after they finish their studies and seek employment so that they can help their respective families to attain self-sufficiency level and or escape the repetitious or inter-generational cycle of poverty.

Lastly, parent/s or guardians are required to attend the monthly Family Development Session (FDS).

“We are hopeful that the additional cash grant will be used for its intended purpose. We will use FDS to ensure that the beneficiaries are informed of the relevant provision on rice subsidy”, said Taguiwalo. (PNA) RMA/LSJ/RSM