The Asian Development Bank (ADB) would like to address recent media reports about the Pantawid conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, that have created false impressions about how program funds have been used. ADB reiterates its full support for the program, which has helped improve the health, education and job opportunities of nearly 4.5 million poor families in the Philippines.
It is unfortunate that outdated data was used in media reports claiming that 19 billion pesos of program funds did not go to intended beneficiaries. That figure is based on a calculation drawn from outdated 2009 data—at a time when the budget for the program was much smaller—rather than the most recent 2014 budget. Initial targeting errors have been substantially reduced by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), with advice from ADB and other partners. It is important to note that these targeting errors did not lead to misappropriation or misuse of funds.
Since 2010, ADB has worked closely with DSWD to ensure funding goes to intended beneficiaries. ADB technical assistance has supported DSWD in implementing measures—such as a grievance redress mechanism, extra training for staff, and spot checks in the field—to improve targeting models so they exclude non-eligible families.
As part of ADB’s continuing efforts to improve the program’s effectiveness, a new round of poverty assessment processes is ongoing to update the status of beneficiary households and ensure funds are properly directed.
This program provides cash grants to poor households based on their fulfillment of health and education related conditions. From a small pilot of 6,000 families in 2007, the program has grown rapidly to cover 4.5 million families at the end of 2014. In terms of people reached, Pantawid is now the world’s third largest CCT program after Brazil and Mexico. Rigorous impacts evaluations have shown that the program is meeting its overall objectives. Monitoring and evaluation of the program by government and partners will continue.
For participating households, Pantawid has helped to promote near-universal enrolment of elementary school-age children, reduced child labor, and improved access to pre- and post-natal care. ADB is proud to partner with and support the government on this flagship program for poverty reduction (###DSWDFieldOfficeCaragaSocialMarketingUnit).