PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to continue calibrating the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as well as the government’s special protection initiatives.

During the 72nd founding anniversary of the department, Marcos said the 4Ps is one of the measures the government is undertaking to address poverty in the country.

He said it is also essential in providing for the health needs of every household and education of the children.

“In addition to this, I call upon the department to continue to implement the Unconditional Cash Transfer Program to provide cash grants to poor households and individuals who do not benefit from the lower income tax rates but who are adversely affected by rising prices,” said Marcos.

“Let us also enhance the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens as a means to augment their daily subsistence and medical needs,” he added.

The DSWD earlier said that following an assessment they will be removing 800,000 from the 4Ps beneficiaries list after “graduating” from extreme poverty.

The administration is aiming to bring down the country’s poverty rate by nine percent in 2028.

The country’s poverty incidence hit 18.1 percent in 2021.

Meantime, Marcos recognized and expressed gratitude to the people of the department for their tireless work to improve the lives of every Filipino, especially those who are in distress, those who are in danger, and those who we can see are disadvantaged.

He urged them to remain steadfast in their commitment to ensuring that more Filipinos will be provided with quality service in the coming years.

“Alam ko na kung minsan ang pakiramdam ninyo dahil kayo ay kung nasaan – nasaan pinapapunta na malalayo na hindi kinikilala ang inyong trabaho. Huwag niyo pong isipin ‘yun. Kinikilala at nagpapasalamat ang madlang Pilipino sa inyong mga ginagawa. And although we do not do it often enough, I must remind you today that you have been, especially in the pandemic, that the DSWD has been the lifeline for millions and millions of Filipinos,” he said.

In a statement, the Department of Budget and Management said it has allocated over P151 billion under the Fiscal Year 2023 General Appropriations Act for the continuity of the DSWD’s major social protection service programs such as the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances (PSIFDC) and 4Ps. (SunStar Philippines)