Republic Act (RA) 11310 that created the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) should be amended before implementing the proposed “no vaccine, no subsidy” for its beneficiaries amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, Malacañang said on Monday.
This, after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) proposed to exclude unvaccinated 4Ps beneficiaries against Covid-19 from receiving cash subsidies under the program to address the vaccine hesitancy.
“Well I think, we can require that in 4Ps, but there might be a need to amend the law because it is the law that says who is entitled to 4Ps,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said partly in Filipino in his regular Palace briefing.
RA 11310 also known as 4Ps Act provides cash grants to Filipino households below the poverty line after meeting certain conditions of the government.
“This is not just an executive program, it was enacted by the Congress through RA 11310. So, there is a provision there on how to amend the law,” Roque said in Filipino.
However, he said there is a valid reason for recommending that vaccination be required in exchange for receiving 4Ps benefits.
“But that’s my personal opinion, I think the law should be amended,” he added in Filipino.
While the amendment of the law is yet to be done, Roque said the “no vaccine, no subsidy” policy will remain a suggestion that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should study further.
In an interview with CNN Philippines on Monday, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the proposal is a result of the clamor of some local government units (LGUs) having difficulties in vaccinating their constituents.
“In fact we just came from LGUs last week, we went to Atimonan, Quezon, we went to Pili, Camarines Sur, we went to Tigaon, Camarines Sur and many other places as far as Sorsogon City and there is a difficulty on the part LGUs to have their 4Ps beneficiaries vaccinated, so this is not just a proposal from the DILG,” he said.
This came as LGUs scramble to ramp up vaccination efforts after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered sanctions against those that have sluggish vaccination efforts.