Poverty Reduction and Empowerment of the Poor and Vulnerable
To translate the gains from good governance into direct, immediate and substantial benefits for the poor.
The people are our country’s greatest resource. A healthy, educated and energized citizenry raises the country’s chances for sustainable development and prosperity. The work at hand is urgent: to reduce poverty incidence to 16.6 percent by 2015 and meet key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly in basic education and healthcare.
The Aquino Administration’s strategy to fighting poverty is to empower the poor and the marginalized segments of society. This means providing a “life vest” to those currently drowning in extreme poverty through social protection interventions. At the same time, fighting poverty also means investing in people’s capacity to participate meaningfully in the economy, access gainful livelihood and improve the quality of their lives.
As a testament to the Aquino Administration’s bias for the poor, the 2012 National Budget infuses the largest sector allocation—P567.9 billion or 31 percent of total—into the social services sector. This is also higher than the previous year’s budget by P46.5 billion or 8.91 percent. This will fund programs, activities and projects that were designed to have a direct, immediate and substantial impact in empowering the poor.
Social Protection and Welfare
In light of the President’s commitment to reduce poverty across the country, budgetary allocations for the government’s social protection programs will continue to increase, with the total allocation for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) up by 47.9 percent to P48.9 billion in 2012.
Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)
Most of the DSWD’s budget, amounting to P39.4 billion, will support the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), to cover an estimated 3 million indigent household-beneficiaries, from 2.3 million households in 2011. The Aquino Administration aims to enroll all 4.3 million indigent households into the program by 2016.
Under the 4Ps, indigent households receive a conditional cash transfer (CCT) of as much as P1,400 per month, on condition that:
Aside from 4Ps/CCT, DWSD also implements other social protection programs that seek to not only address poverty but also empower the poor and the marginalized.
The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS): Kapangyarihan at Kalayaan sa Barangay (KKB) is a top-to-bottom, people-powered approach to development. This foreign-assisted project has a P1.3-billion budget for 2012, which will be used to provide technical assistance and funding to 220 municipalities covering 3,404 barangays.
KALAHI-CIDSS-KKB employs a community-based approach to empower communities through their participation in local governance, especially in the design and implementation of poverty reduction activities. The program provides funding support and technical assistance to various local government units based on community prioritization of menu projects, such as potable water systems, foot paths, bridges, roads, health facilities, day-care centers and classrooms.
Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens
To address the needs of poor senior citizens, the 2012 Budget provides P1.2 billion for their social pension, in line with the Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 9994). With this budget, 198,370 indigent senior citizens aged 75 and above will be provided with a monthly social pension of P500.
Supplemental Feeding Program
To address hunger and malnutrition among poor children, the 2012 Budget provides P2.9 billion for the Supplemental Feeding Program. Hot meals will be served five days a week for a period of six months for an estimated 1.6 million children enrolled in daycare, as well as out-of-school children aged 6 months to 5 years. The children will be weighed at the start of the feeding program and then monthly in order to monitor improvements in their nutrition.
The 2012 Budget reflects President Aquino’s commitment to provide the highest budgetary priority for education, as it is his government’s central strategy for investing in the people and building national competitiveness. With this, the subsector’s total budget increased by 14 percent to P308.9 billion in 2012. In particular, the DepEd budget gets a 15-percent boost—the highest in over a decade—to P238.8 billion. The unprecedented increases in the education budget show the Aquino Administration’s drive to decisively meet the education MDGs.
The Aquino Administration has also taken bold moves in reforming the education sector. For one, the DepEd has begun implementing the global standard of the K to 12 (K-12) Program, which is more suited to honing young learners. Tertiary and vocational education systems are also being reformed to focus on developing competent human resources for priority economic growth areas.
Notes: 1) 2011 and 2012 figures are approved appropriations, while the rest are actual obligations. 2)The computation for 2012 includes funding for new and unfilled positions of DepEd and State Universities and Colleges. The segregation of funds for new and unfilled positions into the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) started in 2012.
As a key component of the K-12 Program, the Universal Kindergarten program formally prepares 5 year-old children prior to entry in Grade 1. For 2012, its budget of P2.4 billion will be used for the early childhood education of about 1.7 million children. Furthermore, the 2012 Budget will fund the creation of 3,000 teaching positions for Kindergarten (See succeeding portion on new teaching positions).
More Teachers, More Learning Materials, Better Instruction
To improve the quality of instruction, the 2012 Budget provides P3.5 billion for the creation of an additional 16,000 teaching and non-teaching positions: 3,000 in kindergarten and 13,000 for elementary and secondary education. Meanwhile, an additional P8.9 billion is allocated for unfilled teaching positions. The 2012 Budget provides P2.1 billion for the procurement of 42.9 million learning and teaching materials.
More Classrooms Complete with Furniture and Facilities
To provide students with a suitable “second home,” the government seeks to completely address the shortage of 66,800 classrooms by 2013. With this, the 2012 Budget provides a total of P17.4 billion to construct an estimated 40,208 classrooms (including 29,358 through PPPs, see box) and repair 3,850, as well as purchase 2.5 million seats and install 25,667 water and sanitation facilities.
The Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) remains an innovative program that decongests public schools by giving poor but qualified students an opportunity to study in private schools. The Aquino Administration has again expanded GASTPE by providing P6.3 billion in 2012. This will provide one million grantees from 757,806 in 2011.
The Aquino government is also tapping a new approach in constructing school houses. Under PPP arrangements, private contractors will be tapped by DepEd to construct the required number of classrooms within a period of
one year, and government will repay the contractors for a period of five to seven years.
For 2012, 29,358 classrooms will be constructed through PPPs. Of the educational facilities budget, P4 billion has been earmarked for the first-year amortization of these PPP-constructed classrooms, and will be required for the succeeding four years. According to DepEd, this scheme will enable government to have a “zero backlog” of classrooms by 2013.
To sustain the development of Filipino scientists and innovators, the 2012 Budget provides the Science Education Institute (SEI) and the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) of the
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) with a total of P2.1 billion to increase the number of scholars in all levels. PSHS targets an increase of science high school scholars to 4,334 in 2012 from 3,527 in 2010. SEI will meanwhile support more than 10,000 science and technology scholars in both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Scholarships in Higher Ed, Tech-Voc Learning
To ensure a steady supply of competent talent for economic growth, the Commission and Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) provides scholarships for poor but qualified students. The 2012 Budget provides CHED with P681 million for its Student Financial Assistance Programs (STUFAPs) which are expected to benefi t 47,330 grantees. All STUFAP slots are allotted to priority courses based on labor market and development needs: this ensures that grantees will land a job after completion.
TESDA has a P700-million fund for its training-for-work scholarship program for more than 30,000 students. To ensure the employability of graduates, the courses off ered are based on key employment generators identified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
More Responsive State Universities and Colleges
The Aquino Administration believes that State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) are an important aspect of the public education system: to provide poor yet talented students with a chance to attain a college degree. With this, the 2012 Budget provides SUCs with a total budget of P26.1 billion, over 10 percent more than last year’s comparable allocation.
To ensure that SUCs become responsive to economic development, the government is currently undertaking reforms to align their course offerings with the government’s priority development areas. Of the total SUC budget for 2012, P500 million is allocated under CHED for SUC activities for developing human resources into priority areas for economic development: agriculture, tourism, infrastructure development, semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, and business process outsourcing (BPOs). The Aquino Administration is also moving towards a more rationalized and responsive SUC system through the amalgamation of SUCs into key centers of excellence and the institution of a performance-based mechanism for budgetary allocation, among other interventions.
President Aquino believes that good governance requires the advancement and protection of public health. After all, the failure to protect households from illness and to alleviate the high cost of healthcare significantly contributes to poverty and inequality.
Through the 2012 Budget, the government invests P51.6 billion in the health subsector. In particular, the DOH budget increases by 31.2 percent to P43.5 billion. To support the President’s commitments on improving public health—and meet the country’s MDG targets to reduce child mortality, improve maternal healthcare and combat major diseases—the DOH will begin implementing Universal Health Care over the medium-term.
Health Insurance for Indigents
Family Health and Immunization
The 2012 Budget sets aside P2.3 billion for Family Health and Responsible Parenting
Control of Tuberculosis, Infectious Diseases
The 2012 Budget provides P1.0 billion for TB Control in 2012, particularly the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy to ensure completion of treatment. DOH also has a P224-million budget to combat HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
Better, Accessible Health Facilities
The availability and accessibility of such health facilities nationwide—especially in the far-flung areas—is critical in enhancing public health service delivery. The 2012 Budget thus provides P5.1 billion for upgrading health facilities, particularly rural health units, barangay health stations and district hospitals. DOH will also engage the private sector in modernizing 25 regional hospitals. The 2012 Budget provides P3 billion as funding support for PPP schemes in the operation and maintenance of these regional hospitals.
Healthcare Workers to the Barrios
To provide shelter for the poor, the government has set aside P7 billion for the housing sector, 23 percent higher than the 2011 appropriation of P5.7 billion. In particular, the National Housing Authority will have P5.6 billion to resettle families affected by calamities and living along high-risk, and to support medium-rise housing and slum upgrading programs.
The Aquino Administration is will implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to alleviate poverty in the countryside by providing land to landless farmers. For 2012, CARP will have a P9.65-billion budget for the acquisition and distribution of 240,247 hectares of land.