ADB to support health and education in the Philippines
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$400 million loan to help the Philippines further expand its flagship conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme, which provides regular health and education grants to millions of the country’s poorest households. The CCT programme, known locally as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino, provides grants to poor families if they send their children to school, visit health centres and attend family development sessions. “The support, which builds on ADB’s initial loan to the project of the same amount, will help the government support more families, now also including high school students,” said Karin Schelzig, Senior Social Sector Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “This is important, as impact evaluation shows that the CCTs are keeping vulnerable young people at school, opening the door to a better future.” ADB approved the initial loan in 2010 to strengthen the programme’s poverty targeting system, finance a share of the cash grants to 637,000 households in selected areas, build capacity among staff, and support monitoring and impact evaluation. The fresh assistance will finance a share of the grants to all participating households nationwide. Since the programme’s inception, the number of CCT partner beneficiaries increased from 340,000 to more than 4.4 million at the end of 2015—making it the fourth-largest CCT after programmes in India, Brazil and Mexico. The project has expanded rapidly since it began in 2008 and has evolved over time based on lessons and experience. Examples of evidence-based programme adjustments include first increasing the grant amount for older children and expanding the eligibility cut-off from 14 years of age to 18 to raise the rates of high school graduation of children from poor families. More than 93 percent of the participating households regularly meet the conditions for receiving the grants, well in excess of the 80 percent target. Performance targets for women’s participation, school enrolment rates, and other key indicators have also been exceeded, and impact studies have found no evidence that receiving the grants discourages adults from seeking paid work.
By Nick Michell
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Photo: ADB