The Department of Social Welfare and Development through the Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) has so far assessed 70% of its 15.3 million target households nationwide, or an equivalent of 10.7 million households. Initial results of the assessment is expected to become available by end of August 2015.

“The impending results of this assessment will be the basis of national government programs and other social protection stakeholders in developing targeted and responsive programs and identifying deserving beneficiaries,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

The DSWD has enhanced the targeting system and is now implementing quality control measures such as random re-interviews and spot checks, to ensure that the assessment will produce accurate and reliable results.

“This is to ensure that those who will benefit from government programs are those who are truly in need,” added Sec. Soliman.

Among the enhancements made to the targeting system is the development of a new proxy means test (PMT) model. The PMT is a statistical model that estimates income of poor households based on household characteristics such as housing materials, education attainment, and livelihood of each household member, among others.

Improvements in the new model – such as inclusion of barangay characteristics as one of the determinants of poverty status and the installation of a 2nd stage screener to weed out possible inclusion errors – resulted to the decrease in model-based error rates, from having an inclusion and exclusion error rates of 22-35% in the 2009 model to 6.9-19.3% in the new model.

An inclusion error is when a non-poor family is classified as poor, while an exclusion error is when a true poor family is classified as non-poor.

Once assessment is completed, the initial list of poor will be posted in all barangays to be vetted by the community. A local verification committee will be formed to receive and act on complaints and appeals from the community.

“This further decreases possibility of having inclusion and exclusion errors in database.  Involvement of the community is important since they know better than us who among their neighbors are really poor,” Secretary Soliman stated. ###