President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s directive to “adjust to inflation” of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) cash transfers to some 4.4 million poor households has been welcomed by the 22 members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives.

“The President’s order is consistent with our recommendation to increase the cash grants to 4Ps household-beneficiaries periodically at a rate that is at least equal to the average annual inflation rate,” House Minority Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan said in a statement on Monday(March 11).

“The buying power of the cash subsidies has been eroded by sustained commodity price increases, and the only way to rectify the devaluation is to raise the amount of money being given to household-beneficiaries,” Libanan pointed out.

“The government must restore the lost purchasing power of the cash assistance if we want the 4Ps to succeed in reducing poverty,” Libanan added.

Libanan and the other 4Ps party-list representative in Congress, Jonathan Clement Abalos II, previously filed House Resolution No. 184, which pressed for higher cash aids to help household-beneficiaries keep up with consumer price increases.

In a recent sectoral meeting, the President instructed Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian to ensure that the 4Ps cash aids are adjusted to inflation.

Gatchalian himself announced the President’s directive.

Last week, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the country’s inflation rate jumped to 3.4 percent in February 2024 from 2.8 percent in January 2024.

Analysts have warned that the El Niño climate pattern’s severe lack of rainfall could put an upward pressure on food prices in the months ahead on account of poor farm harvests.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council earlier reported that damage to agriculture due to prolonged dry spells and drought has already reached over P1 billion.

The 4Ps has an allocation of P106.3 billion in the 2024 General Appropriations Law. (PR)