The House Committee on Poverty Alleviation started on Tuesday deliberations on proposals to increase the grants under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), as poor families continue to reel from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and high inflation.
Data presented by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) show that in 2021, four in 10 children under five years old, who are beneficiaries of 4Ps, suffer from stunting, while two in 10 children from the same group are underweight.
“There is really a very high prevalence of food insecurity among our 4Ps beneficiaries. About 77percent are food insecure,” FNRI Director IV Dr. Imelda Angeles Agdeppa told the panel, citing the results of the National Nutrition Survey.
“The severely food insecure is about 34.2 percent... Those people who actually slept without eating one meal,” she added.
Some lawmakers expressed alarm over the results of the study, adding that the cash component given to 4Ps beneficiaries are not enough to meet their food needs.
“They are not only not given the proper nutrition, kulang sila kumain sa isang araw… It is very alarming,” AGRI Party List Rep. Wilbert Lee said.
“Malnourished sila because ‘yung binibigay nating cash component is not enough,” Quezon City 3rd District Rep. Franz Pumaren added.
House Bill 4372 recommends to increase by P200 the education grant per child under the 4Ps program and the health grant to at least P1,100 per month from the current P750.
House Bill 6813 proposes to add a food and nutrition grant amounting to not less than P1,000 per month.
House Bill 8040, meanwhile, suggests to increase the health grant to at least P1,800 per month, and institutionalize the P600 monthly rice subsidy.
The panel created a technical working group to consolidate the bills.