The Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Poverty Alleviation in the Philippines: A Policy Evaluation

Poverty is a worldwide problem that occurs also here in the Philippines. People living in extreme poverty face challenges and difficulty because they cannot afford to buy their basic and survival needs for their families. In response, the Philippine government implemented a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program which provides cash assistance to indigent families nationwide both in urban and rural areas, dubbed in the Filipino language as the “pantawid pamilyang Pilipino program” (4Ps), In this paper, the term CCT is used to refer in particular to the 4Ps itself which aims to reduce poverty and improve access to education and health care of the poorest of the poor families by providing them cash grants for their basic educational and health care needs. This paper critically evaluated the policy implementation of the CCT program on it uplifted the poverty conditions of the beneficiary families. The paper examined the strengths and weaknesses of the program implementation in view of elevating the quality of lives of the recipients thereby exit from poverty. Findings revealed that the CCT program in large part, has become very instrumental in uplifting the standard of living and improve the quality of life among its beneficiaries. The cash grants primarily facilitated access to education and health care services of the children. However, recipient families often spend the received grants on home consumption rather than for the educational and health care need of the schooling-age children, indicative of weak understanding on the financial literacy and management aspects among program beneficiaries. Finally, there is a need for the beneficiaries to be trained on how to responsibly spend cash subsidies by spending them wisely as allocated.