Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program
What COA Found
DSWD does not have the absorptive capacity to cover all identified poor households within its set timeframe. By focusing on mass registration, DSWD compromised its ability to target beneficiaries, monitor compliance, deliver services, and ensure data reliability.
The program aims to keep children healthy and in school while breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty. Since 2010, DSWD data shows that 88% of program beneficiaries have had access to government health services, such as preventive health check-ups, vaccinations, and deworming medicines. In addition, the program ensured that 90% of the 9,432,580 registered children attended school. Moreover, the 2015 National Household Assessment found that about 1.3 million household beneficiaries transitioned above the poverty line. However, there is insufficient longitudinal evidence to determine if the program caused this decline and thereby contributed to the goal of breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty. Furthermore, data shows that increased access to basic health and education services of the government does not automatically translate to better health and jobs for the beneficiaries.
Poverty incidence data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (as of June 2015) shows that the program successfully targeted regions with the highest percentage of poor households. However, DSWD’s individual household targeting has problems. DSWD data (as of May 22, 2017) reflect that 31,389 households that received benefits were non-poor and therefore ineligible. These errors resulted from poor data gathering during the 2009 National Household Assessment. According to program officials, the prior Administration had insufficient time and personnel to correct the data because its priority was on mass registration. As the Listahanan database is the main source of information on program beneficiaries from 2010-2015, the reported 1.3 million households which transitioned above the poverty line is questionable, hence, the DSWD is still in the process of validating the aforementioned report.
In 2015, the program shifted its focus from mass registration to efforts to correct the data integrity issues caused by the program’s rapid expansion. As of May 22, 2017, DSWD had identified 15,898 duplicate entries in its database. Upon further testing, this audit found an additional 530 duplicate entries in the database. During its expansion the program had inadequate IT support. The database and supporting structure was designed to handle 300,000 households but the program rapidly expanded to nearly 4.4 million households. As a result, systems users have been encountering systems lags and shutdowns, thereby increasing the time to finish their processes. With the change of administration in the middle of 2016, the DSWD implemented a moratorium on the acceptance of new households in order to focus on reassessing the program to identify and address existing gaps.
Why COA did this study
For the past decade, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program has been the centerpiece of the government’s social protection efforts helping millions of households living in poverty. Between 2008 and 2016, the program greatly expanded its coverage from about 282,917 to 4.4 million poor households. Budget allocations also increased from ₱299 million to ₱78.2 billion. DSWD administers the program
Prior impact evaluations have shown that the program improved the poor’s access to health services and kept their children in school. However, public opinion surveys show that people perceive the program as a ‘dole-out’ program that causes dependency. Furthermore, the sharp increases in funds and beneficiaries may have strained the program’s controls over program implementation.
COA assessed the extent to which the program (1) achieved its goals and objectives; (2) utilized the funds only to poor households; and (3) used reliable data to allocate its funds.
COA examined relevant laws, rules and regulations to determine the program’s goals, objectives and key performance indicators. COA examined DSWD data to assess the extent the program achieved its goals and objectives. COA examined the operations manuals and interviewed key DSWD officials to assess the program’s internal controls. Lastly, COA tested the reliability of DSWD’s database, identifying duplicate entries and outliers.
What COA recommends
COA recommends that DSWD maintain the suspension of the expansion of the program until (1) it completes its IT Systems upgrade, pursuant to its Information Systems Strategic Plan (ISSP); (2) it eliminates duplicates and outliers in the database; (3) it completes its validation on the transitioning households; and (4) it reassesses its staffing needs.