Conditional Cash Transfer Improves lives

Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) in Tagobon, Cebu

More than a thousand people waited in line to receive their second cash payment from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Tabogon, Cebu last July 26, 2011. Green Bank, a participating bank of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program, assisted the release of PhP 1.2 million pesos (US$30,000) financial assistance through GCASH Remit.

Green Bank extended the government’s financial assistance to low-income households from twenty-five (25) barangays in Tabogon, Cebu. This financial assistance helps them to improve their ability to provide for better health, nutrition and education needs of their children aged 0-14. Beneficiaries are required to comply with a set of co-responsibilities such as regular visits to the Barangay Health Center for preventive health check-ups and vaccines for their children while pregnant women must avail of pre- and post-natal care and be attended to by a trained health professional during childbirth. In addition, up to three of their school-aged children are required to attend school at least 85% of the time while parents must also attend a Family Development Session (FDS). Upon compliance, the beneficiaries are entitled to health and nutrition grants amounting toPhP500 (US$11.82) per month and an educational grant of PhP 300 (US$7.09) per month. These set of co-responsibilities aim to break the intergenerational poverty cycle.

As early as 6 AM, four Municipal Roving Bookkeepers (MRB) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and two Municipal Links prepared, arranged and managed the crowd inside the sports complex while ten barangay watchmen and two policemen helped secure the area. The four MRBs verified the beneficiary’s compliance with conditions and the amount of money to be received while the two Municipal Links assisted with the concerns and questions of the beneficiaries. Four Green Bank staff then performed the mobile money transfer using GCASH Remit. Beneficiaries then received their cash from a Green bank teller after the final verification of the acknowledgment receipt by the area manager of the bank.

Hilaria Arcipe waits as a Green Bank teller validates her acknowledgement receipt

Hilaria Arcipe waits as a Green Bank teller validates her acknowledgement receipt

Hilaria Arcipe was one of the first beneficiaries to be served. Born and raised in Canaocanao, Tagobon, she owns a small farm plot where she plants root crops. Even though her family is poor, all of her seven children were to complete secondary education. She was included by the DSWD Region VII field officers when they conducted the household assessment survey last 2009. She received her first financial grant for health and nutrition last April 2011 amounting to PhP 1,000 (US$23.64). When asked what she intends to do with her grant, she replied “Ibinibili ko ng bigas at sud-an (ulam) ang perang natatanggap ko. Yung iba, ibinibili ko ng gamit pang-eskwela ng dalawa kong apo.” (I will use the money for rice, food and the school supplies of my two grandchildren.” According to her, the financial assistance helps support her grandchildren’s education. Her wish for now is for the program to continue so that her grandchildren would be able to continue their education.

Jennifer Abinasa holds her newborn baby while waiting for her turn to receive the financial grant

Jennifer Abinasa holds her newborn baby while waiting for her turn to receive the financial grant

While she expressed wanting to find a stable source of income, Jennifer Abinasa – a young mother of three children – also wants the CCT program to continue. A mother at the age of 17, she signed up for the program last 2009 and received her first PhP1,000 (US$23.64) financial assistance for health and nutrition last April 2011. Because she has five other siblings and the family’s only source of income is farming, she was not able to finish primary school. After dropping out of school, she worked in a local shop earning PhP900 (US$21) per month. She got married soon after to a seasonal construction aid worker.  Earning enough money for their daily needs is a constant source of worry, especially with her husband’s irregular source of income. The PhP1,000 (US$23.64) health and nutrition subsidy that she receives  is used to buy rice, dried fish and clothes for her children.

Jennifer and Hilaria’s families are among the 560,000 poor households that have received subsidies totaling over PhP 100 million ($2.3 million) since January 2011.  Rural banks, in partnership with Globe’s G-Xchange Inc, are now providing greater access to the government’s 4 Ps program in more remote communities which lack Land Bank branches and expect to assist more communities over the coming five years.