World Bank approves $600-million loan to help modernize social protection delivery in PH

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2020 04:53 PM

Residents in Phase 1K1 Barangay San Jose, Rodriguez, Rizal gather for a form under the social amelioration program on May 11, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The World Bank said Wednesday it has approved a $600-million loan to help modernize social protection delivery in the Philippines.

At least 4 million families will benefit from the new project including the Philippines Beneficiary FIRST Social Protection Project which provides continuing support to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to implement the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and its beneficiaries, the World Bank said in a statement.

Cash transfers to the poor "indirectly support" local economies and boost recovery, the World Bank said. The funds will help support DSWD's digital technologies and platforms to improve transfers, it said.

“We are pleased to support the Government’s efforts to sustain social protection for the poor and most vulnerable families,” World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand Ndiam√© Diop said.

“Global experience shows that countries that have effective government-to-persons payments systems and a coherent approach to social protection beneficiary data management have been very effective in quickly and effectively cushioning the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic” Diop added.

Senior Economist and Project Task Team Leader Yoonyoung Cho said the output include a new unified beneficiary database for DSWD and the integration with the national ID system for a timely and reliable delivery.

“Shifting to the use of digital platforms and technologies for delivery of social protection programs and services is a high priority agenda of the Government that we are excited to support,” said Yoon. 

The National Economic and Development Authority earlier said the national ID system would help digitize cash aid distribution in times of crisis.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also said digitizing cash distribution would curb corruption.