President Benigno S. Aquino III has recently approved the P1.9-billion budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct its second Nationwide Assessment that will identify poor families who will be qualified to receive assistance from the government’s social protection programs and services.
“This undertaking will update the existing database and provide data users a more relevant, timely, and, reliable basis in developing policies and programs that will effectively address the needs of the poor,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.
The assessment, to be undertaken by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), better known as the ‘Listahanan’, shall be conducted within this year.
‘Listahanan’ is DSWD’s initiative to improve the design and implementation of social protection programs by providing a clear and reliable basis for beneficiary selection and program planning. It makes available to national government agencies and other implementers of social protection programs a comprehensive socio-economic database of poor families identified through objective and verifiable means.
15.3 million households
With the approval of the budget, the Department will be able to proceed with the hiring, training, and deployment of approximately 58,000 field staff who will conduct the assessment on 15.3 million households nationwide.
The budget will also be used to fund the printing of assessment forms and procurement of necessary equipment.
The results of the assessment will be the basis for selecting a new set of beneficiaries for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and PhilHealth, which will also cover the “near poor” in its Indigent Program. It is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2015.
The first assessment, which was conducted in 2009, resulted in the identification of 5.2 million poor households from the 10.9 million assessed. These identified poor have since become recipients of Pantawid Pamilya, Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, and the PhilHealth Indigent Program.
For this second round, a new Proxy Means Test (PMT) model will be used to ensure the accuracy and precision of predicting the family’s annual per capita income.
The PMT is a statistical model that estimates the annual per capita income of families based on observable family characteristics such as housing condition, family assets, education and occupation of family members and access to basic services. The estimated income is compared with official provincial poverty thresholds to determine the family’s poverty status.
The new PMT model will also use the non-income variables sourced out from 2009 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) and Labor Force Survey (LFS) as income predictors. In the first assessment, the old PMT model predicted income based on variables selected from the 2006 FIES and LFS.
Other features of the new model include barangay/community characteristics derived from the 2007 Census of Population and Housing (CPH) as among the factors affecting the family’s socio-economic activities. These are street patterns, access to mobile phone signal and availability of commercial establishments and recreation facilities.
In addition, a second stage screener has been installed in the new model to minimize inclusion errors or instances where non-poor families are misclassified as poor.
The family assessment form (FAF) was also enhanced.
The FAF is a 52-item questionnaire used to assess the families. Enhancements on the FAF include identification of families within a household, members with disability, and a specific classification of occupation based on the Philippine Standard Occupation Classification (PSOC). ### (written by Krupska Lenina Apit, DSWD – Central Office)