7.4 million families to receive unconditional cash transfers by March

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Some 7.4 million families in the Philippines are scheduled to receive unconditional cash transfers (UCT) in the amount of Php 2,400 by March 2018, according to a report by the Department of Finance.

The beneficiary households include the 4.4 million current recipients under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the 3 million indigent senior citizens already receiving social pensions.

These UCTs of P200 a month or a total of P2,400 this year will be increased to P300 a month or a total of P3600 a year in 2019 and 2020.

In a DOF release, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported the 4Ps beneficiaries will receive the a top-up to their existing conditional cash transfers (CCTs) in February if they are getting their benefits through ATM (automatic teller machine) cards.

The recipients can expect to receive the UCT in March if they get these over the counter (OTC).

OTC releases are those that beneficiaries get via conduits such as rural banks, cooperatives and non-government organizations (NGOs).

Social pensioners will also start receiving their (UCT) allocations in March this year, he added.

The DWSD expects all 10 million beneficiary-households—comprising the poorest 50 percent of the population—to receive their UCT transfers by August, Chua said.

The remaining 2.6 million households are the new recipients that are being registered now after being identified as poor in the survey but did not qualify to become CCT beneficiaries. These people can expect the full UCT by August.

Carmela Duron, information officer of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-XI office said the UCT is intended to cushion the impact of the TRAIN law.

“This is to augment the expenses for their needs because of the increase in prices brought about by TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion),” Duron said.

The TRAIN law, which restructures the current income taxation of many taxpayers, will result to increase in prices of goods due to higher excise taxes on fuels.

The first tranche of the UCT to all 10 million beneficiaries is expected to be distributed by midyear.

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