A program designed to give dole-outs to poverty-stricken families in the province has been put on hold after town mayors expressed their objection to paying the health insurance of beneficiaries in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Enrolment in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) is one of the new conditions imposed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the continuance of the program.
The mayors aired their apprehension on the new requirement before the new agreement was to be signed last week as the DSWD and the mayors instead spent the time to discuss their concerns about the program.
Bindoy Mayor Valente Yap said that some LGUs, especially the third-class municipalities, would find it hard to put up funds for the counterparting scheme as it would require a great deal of money.
Yap suggested that beneficiaries should also be required to pay a counterpart fee in paying the premium to ease the financial burden of the LGU.
The Pantawid Pamilya program was implemented as a poverty reduction strategy by giving out monthly conditional cash grants to qualified household beneficiaries.
The government had released more than P400 million in conditional cash grants for a total of 33,634 beneficiaries in ten pilot areas in the province, namely: Ayungon, Bindoy, Jimalalud, La Libertad, Tayasan, Vallehermoso, Basay, Bayawan City, Siaton and Sta. Catalina.
The program’s coverage had been expanded lately to include 25,800 additional beneficiaries from seven towns and cities, namely: Canlaon City, Guihulngan City, Manjuyod, Bais City, Mabinay, Pamplona and Zamboanguita.
DSWD Region 7 Director Evelyn Macapobre said that under the revised MOA, the provincial government is also required to provide its own counterpart funds to help the LGUs in the Philhealth enrolment.
Instead of the scheduled MOA signing, the mayors sat down with DSWD Region 7 Director to resolve their concerns and afterwards agreed on a 50-50 sharing scheme between the LGU and beneficiaries for the payment of the Philhealth premium.
It was also agreed that the LGU counterpart will not just be for Philhealth but for any government-initiated health insurance and the enrolment will only be for beneficiaries who are interested and willing to pay the counterpart. (RMN/PIA)