Who benefits from social assistance in the Philippines? - Evidence from the latest national household surveys

This note discusses two of the Philippines' biggest social assistance programs: the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the government's first conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, and the rice subsidy program of the National Food Authority (NFA), one of the country's long-standing food-based social assistance programs with a focus on targeting efficiency and the benefits to the poor. The goal of the CCT program, which has an explicit poverty targeting mechanism embedded in the program, is to provide short-term cash assistance to poor households while helping to strengthen human capital of their children with the long-run vision of breaking the cycle of poverty. The goal of rice subsidy program is to ensure that low-priced rice is available in the markets to all consumers. Using benefit incidence analysis on the latest official household surveys of 2009, results suggest that both programs benefit poorest households the most. This has implications for the CCT program given the program was only launched with limited coverage in 2008. Despite having been implemented for one year as captured by the data, the program had already reached 12.4 percent of poor households in 2009. Moreover, about 71 percent of its beneficiaries in 2009 belonged to the poorest 20 percent of the population and accounted for 74 percent of total program benefits.