DSWD Initiates Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Batanes

BASCO, BATANES – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officially introduced the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to Basco, Batanes on Monday, aiming to extend social welfare services to this remote northern province.

According to Philippines News Agency, the launch responds to a request by Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco to include the province in the program. "Governor Cayco’s advocacy facilitated the assessment and registration of eligible households which will help address the needs of the poor, marginalized, and geographically isolated citizens here," Maristela stated during the inauguration.

Despite Batanes' recognition for having the lowest poverty rates as per the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2022 survey, recent socio-economic challenges such as inflation have led to the identification of 562 needy households in the area. The program, which now counts 297 active beneficiaries in Batanes, distributed cash cards to 91 households in Itbayat on April 13, with more scheduled across various towns on April 15 and 16.

The ceremonial launch was attended by key local and regional leaders including Governor Cayco, Batanes Lone District Representative Ciriaco Gato Jr., and several town mayors, alongside Joseph Caliguiran, manager of the Landbank Philippines Basco branch, and Lucia Alan, DSWD Field Office-2 Director.

Governor Cayco expressed her gratitude for the program's expansion to Batanes. "At last, 4Ps has reached Batanes, offering a vital lifeline to our community," she remarked to her constituents.

The 4Ps program, a cornerstone of the national government’s poverty reduction strategy, aims to provide financial assistance to severely impoverished households to improve their living standards, focusing on health, nutrition, and education for children up to 18 years old.