MIRIAM PROPOSES ADOPTION OF BRAZIL'S BOLSA FAMILIA PROGRAMSen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chair of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, will file a bill providing conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to extremely poor families.
Dubbed as the Lingap Sikap Act of 2009, the bill aims to offer grants to impoverished households under the condition of committing to send their children to school regularly and bring them to health care centers for vaccination and check-ups, among others.
“Investing in our children will break the cycle of intergenerational transmission of poverty. As current poverty is addressed by the CCTs, future poverty will be reduced by ensuring the education and health of Filipino children,” Santiago said.
Santiago’s bill is inspired by the CCT progam from Brazil called Bolsa Familia, the program from which Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also based its current pro-poor Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral, who was part of the Philippine delegation to Brazil, said the government was very keen in expanding the 4Ps program in the country after their visit to the Latin American country.
“The passage of this bill will make the cash transfer program of the DSWD more permanent and long term,” said the senator.
Santiago said that the program will also strengthen and facilitate improvements in the government’s social welfare institutions, programs, and services.
The Bolsa Familia program in Brazil is considered the pioneer CCT program in Latin America. Its success triggered adoptions in several countries including Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, and Morocco. Aside from reducing poverty, it created a positive impact on the adult labor supply, reduced the malnutrition rate, and created an increase in total spending, food consumption, and education spending.