DSWD enlists NGAs support in the nationwide assessment of poor families

QUEZON CITY – Different national government agencies (NGAs) were recently invited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the “Listahanan Orientation” forum to enlist their support in the coming 2nd round of nationwide assessment of poor families who will be included in the final list of “Listahanan” or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

DSWD Undersecretary Florita Villar in her opening remarks said the “Listahanan” database will be very useful in identifying possible beneficiaries for the different programs and services of the different NGAs and non-government organizations (NGOs). She emphasized how it will contribute in making a good program design that will ensure efficient and effective implementation.

Present during the forum were representatives of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Department of Tourism (DOT), among others.

Executive Order 867 series of 2010 declared the NGAs as the main data users of the Listahanan database, mandating them to use it as basis in identifying the beneficiaries of their programs and services.

Listahanan makes available to NGAs and other implementers of social protection programs a comprehensive socio-economic database of poor families identified through objective and verifiable means.

Pantawid Pamilya is one of the biggest programs to extensively use the Listahanan, with 4 million beneficiaries identified using the database.

A World Bank study showed that about 90% of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya indeed came from the bottom 40% of the population.

“The Philippines has a history of well-meaning but poorly-targeted programs to assist the poor. And this has resulted in huge sums of government resources channeled to the non-poor,” said World Bank Economist, Rashiel Velarde. “Through the “Listahanan”, programs and resources are given to the rightful beneficiaries.”

Dr. Dennis Mapa of the University of the Philippines School of Statistics shed light on how the Listahanan will identify poor families in the 2nd round of assessment through the Proxy Means Test (PMT).

The PMT is a statistical model that estimates the income of families based on observable and verifiable household characteristics such as housing features, education, and livelihood of the household head, among others.

“Being a model, the PMT is not perfect. There are possibilities for inclusion or exclusion errors. The challenge is to keep these errors at an acceptable rate,” shared Dr. Mapa.

For the 2nd round of assessment, new features were added to the PMT model to minimize the inclusion and exclusion error rates. These include two PMT sub-models (one for the National Capital Region and one for all other regions),community variables as determinants of poverty status, and a second stage screener to flag possible inclusion errors or non-poor being included.

Data users also have their role in ensuring that the poor are enrolled in their programs and services.

“We validate the list. We in the local government cannot simply reject those who are not in the list. Thus, we interview and assess. We also conduct community assemblies to validate the poverty status of potential beneficiaries,” stated Ms. Dorothy Evangelista, the City Social Welfare and Development Officer of Valenzuela City. (DSWD/RJB/LFB/PIA-NCR)

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