The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD FO CAR), through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), hosted the 15th edition of the 4Ps Joint Review Mission with International Development Partners (IDPs) on 13-14 March 2024 held in Baguio City and select municipalities in Benguet.

The IDPs was led by Amir Jilani, Social Sector Economist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Expanded Social Assistance Project (ESAP), composed of consultants and technical staff from the ADB, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

During the opening program held on March 13, DSWD FO CAR Concurrent OIC Regional Director (RD) and Assistant RD for Operations Enrique H. Gascon, Jr. Welcomed and thanked the partner IDPs for choosing the Cordillera as the venue for the mission.

“We are hopeful that this mission would foster a meaningful dialogue, innovative solutions, and actionable insights for the better implementation of 4Ps towards a more inclusive and sustainable development in the Cordillera,” RD Gascon said.

In her opening message, DSWD Undersecretary for National Household Targeting System and 4Ps Vilma B. Cabrera acknowledged the interest of development partners in visiting the 4Ps communities, the invaluable support of the local government units (LGUs), and the DSWD CAR as the host region.

The Joint Review Mission aims to see the field-level implementation of the 4Ps. It intends to review the overall progress of the program at the city or municipal level; identify areas that require additional technical assistance; and determine critical milestones for ensuring smooth project implementation.

On March 13, the IDPs together with the DSWD led by Usec Cabrera and Assistant Secretary for External Assistance and Development under the Policy and Plans Group Juan Carlo V. Marquez conducted a field visit in the town of La Trinidad, Benguet and observed the actual conduct payout of 4Ps beneficiaries. The IDPs had also interactions with some beneficiaries after their payout.

A Focused Group Discussion (FGD) with officials of Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP)-Baguio Assistant Vice President Joel Peredo, and La Trinidad Branch Manager Genaro Dumpayan was simulatneously conducted.

As the authorized government depository bank partner of DSWD in providing cash grants for the 4Ps beneficiaries, the LBP officials shared their strategies in providing efficient services to the 4Ps beneficiaries and how cash grants and cash card-related issues and concerns are resolved through the quarterly DSWD-LBP Regional Action Meeting and constant coordination with DSWD CAR.

On March 14, a simultaneous field visit continued in Baguio City and in the towns of Tuba and Tublay in Benguet, wherein, the team had a closer understanding and firsthand experience on the 4Ps processes particularly on partnership initiatives, how the beneficiaries avail health and education services, the process of the Family Development Session (FDS), availment of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and how the program impacted their lives.

Prior to the community visits, the IDPs with the DSWD paid courtesy visits to the Local Chief Executives of the visited areas with Hon. Benjamin Magalong of Baguio City, Hon Romeo Salda of La Trinidad, Hon. Armando Lauro of Tublay, and Hon Clarita Sal-ongan of Tuba, Benguet.

During the field visit, FGDs with the partner program implementers from the barangay health workers, midwifes, and nurses and school teachers on how the program had been bringing hopes to the beneficiaries. The team also observed the conduct of FDS in three different locations with different topics on responsible budgeting, responsible parenthood, and basic gender and development.

After the community visits, the IDPs met with the 4Ps City Action Team of Baguio City and Municipal Action Team (MAT) of Tuba and Tublay, and with selected 4Ps Regional Program Management Office (RPMO) Focals to clarify some of the observations during the community immersion.

On 15 March 2024, the IDPs presented their observations from the field visits. Some of the good practices noted on 4Ps implementation were: the cash grants has indeed helpful in the education and health of the children beneficiaries, the FDS has helped improve the parental involvement and social empowerment of households in school and community activities, access to livelihood opputinites, and convergence efforts of DSWD with its partner stakeholds, among others.

On the other hand, some of the major challenges noted that needs convergence intervention were: low compliance rate of some children beneficiaries and some parents on their attendance to FDS, delays in the provision of cash cards for those new 4Ps beneficiaries, limited knowledge of some beneficiaries in withdrawing their cash grants from the bank facilities, and the need to explore innovative solutions for reinforcing FDS topics and modules.

Meanwhile, Usec Cabrera commended the active support of the LGUs, DSWD FO CAR staff, and the IDPs for the successful joint review mission.

“Thank you for the productive mission. The insights, takeaways, and recommen­­­dations from our partners will be helpful for us to better implement our program and to uplift more lives,” Usec Cabrera ended. ### DSWD-CAR Social Marketing Unit – Marlo C. Abyado, Jr., 4Ps Information Officer

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