By Cindy B. Ferrer

ILOILO CITY, March 20 (PNA) — About 317,960 household beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental, would benefit from the Php600 rice subsidy, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here.

DSWD-6 regional project coordinator for Pantawid Jonathan Anteza on Monday said they hope to complete the payout, which started March 10, this end of the month.

Anteza said that the Php600 payout is equivalent to about 20 kilos of rice, depending on the variety that they buy. The payout was intended for January.

He revealed that of the number, 124,536 are in Negros Occidental; Iloilo, 91,369; Capiz, 38,210; Antique, 28,415; Aklan, 27, 282 and Guimaras with 8,148.

Anteza explained that the payout is being distributed after the intended month because they still have to check the compliance of beneficiaries with certain conditions of the program.

These include school attendance of at least 85 percent per month for children below 18 years old and were enrolled in the elementary or high school and monthly attendance to the Family Development Sessions (FDS) of the parents, among others.

Anteza said that an average of 85 percent to 97 percent of the Pantawid beneficiaries in the region are compliant with the conditions.

The next payout may happen last week of April or first week of May. The beneficiaries will receive an amount equivalent to the rice subsidy for February and March.

Anteza said that the additional rice subsidy is a “big help for the 4Ps families in the region to improve their nutrition, especially children.”

He mentioned that some parents sometimes use portion of their payout intended for the education of their children to buy their food, especially rice.

“This time, they will have separate money for their rice supply which is really a big help for them,” he said.

Anteza said that beneficiaries are advised to buy rice in markets that issue receipt because they will collect it as evidence that indeed the money was used to purchase rice.

The provision of rice subsidy was among the directives of President Rodrigo R. Duterte when he delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2016 in a hope to end the hunger problem among poor households in the country. (PNA)