COVID-19 and Social Assistance in the Philippines: Lessons for Future Resilience

This note describes the phases of the COVID-19 SP response in the Philippines and assesses the performance with a focus on social assistance (SA). We provide estimates of the coverage, adequacy, targeting accuracy, timeliness, and payment delivery of COVID-19 social assistance in the Philippines based on several household surveys and studies. We pay special attention to the Philippines’ flagship social protection program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and the COVID-19 emergency cash assistance program, the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

The note proposes the following priorities for adaptive and resilient SP program delivery: adoption of the national ID system for SP delivery; enhancement of the targeting system; development of digital platforms and tools; continued innovation in digital G2P payments; strengthening of contingency financing mechanisms and readiness for disaster response; and shift of resources from in-kind to cash assistance.