Rumours spread among beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash program that they have received a post-Christmas bonus from President Rodrigo Duterte last month. This is after the beneficiaries noted that an amount of 2,400 pesos was deposited to their cash cards.

DSWD, the agency that implements the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, clarifies that the aforementioned amount is a lump sum of the newly-implemented Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) and not a post-Christmas bonus.

The UCT is a cash grant assistance to poor households to mitigate the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law which forms as the first part of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) of the government.

The lump sum grant which amounted to P2,400 (P200 per month) for 2018 was already released to those beneficiaries who are cash card holders. Other beneficiaries who are under the Over-the-counter scheme will be paid on a later date from April 11 to May 11 this year. For 2019 and 2020, the grant will be increased to P300 per month or equivalent to P3,600 as stipulated in the 3-year  implementation plan of the TRAIN Law.

“There is an immediate need for economic assistance especially for the underprivileged ones now that the TRAIN has been implemented and we are expecting increase in petroleum prices. We have already started with the release of the grants to some Pantawid beneficiaries and we are aiming to finish the distribution of the UCT by the end of June 2018. We are constantly coordinating with LandBank and other possible partners for the smooth implementation of the UCT especially when we start with the Over-the-counter pay-out,” said DSWD-9 Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo.

In Region 9, a total of 68,393 Pantawid households already benefited from the UCT that amounts to P164,142,200. Of this figure, P55,620,000 were given to 23,175 households in Zamboanga City.

Other beneficiaries of the UCT will come from the members of the Social Pension Program of the DSWD and those identified and validated by the Listahanan.