Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Chairman Margarita “Margie” P. Juico has vowed to prioritize “forgotten or neglected” areas for its Institutional Financial Augmentation Program (IFAP) after learning that 91 percent or P415 million of the P455,162,333.09 IFAP funds went to provinces with low poverty incidence.
Juico said that 10 areas registering the highest poverty incidence only got a combined P2.4-million, just percent of the total IFAP funds.
“It's really saddening because that kind of giving assistance, it is like depriving the poor. Their only hope is to get help from the PCSO. Then, it was like being stolen from them,” Juico said after learning of the inequity in the distribution of PSCO aid.
She vowed that the PCSO from here on will focus the IFAP aid to the poorest provinces or areas.
“We will have to focus more on the places that are forgotten or neglected, so we will have an equitable distribution of PCSO resources or assistance. Given what we have, we really have to be very careful now,” said Juico.
She met with some journalists on Sept. 3 in her office at the PCSO and provided them the results of a study conducted by the agency's Special Projects Department (SPD) to determine whether PCSO had served the provinces registering the most significant HPI.
Juico noted that the bulk of the IFAP -- medical and health assistance -- were given to areas with the least significant HPI.
The SPD study covers the distribution of IFAP from January, 2009 to June 2010. The HPI is based on the poverty mapping made by the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NCSB) using the Minimum Basic Needs (MBN) priority indicators.
Priority indicators for MBN are nutrition; health; water and sanitation; peace and order and public safety; basic education and literacy; and family care and psychosocial needs.
PCSO-IPD data show the Top 10 recipients of IFPA in the period were National Capital Region (NCR), which is not included in the NSCB poverty ranking), P240,527,856.09; Nueva Ecija (45th in HPI), P36,832,800; Occidental Mindoro (13th), P35,317,900; Pangasinan (56th), P30,905,000; La Union (57th), P20,696,505; Camarines Sur (26th), P17,430,000; Antique (22th), P12,212,305; Cebu (63rd), P8,020,000; Iloilo (62nd), P7,923,000; and Cavite (76th), P5,100,000. This all amounted to P414,965,366.09 IFAP aid.
The Top 10 IFAP recipients, except for Occidental Mindoro, are mostly way below in the NCSB list (with the No. 1 the most HPI) of poverty-stricken provinces.
On the other hand, the Top 10 areas with HPI in the same period are Tawi-Tawi (No. 1 in HPI), got zero IFPA aid; Zamboanga del Norte, zero IFAP; Maguindanao, zero IFAP; Apayao, zero IFAP; Surigao del Norte, zero IFAP; Lanao del Sur, zero IFAP; Northern Samar, P1.5 million; Masbate, zero IFAP; Abra, P.2 million; and Misamis Occidental, P770,000.
Only three of the Top 10 provinces with the most significant HPI got IFAP help, P2,470,000 out of the P455 million assistance from PCSO.
Five areas which got zero IFAP are from Mindanao, three of them from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and two from Luzon.
Luzon has seven while the Visayas has three areas in the Top 10 recipients of PCSO-IFAP assistance. None is from Mindanao.
In all, the January, 2009 to June, 2010 of the PCSO-IFAP distribution amounting to P455,162,333.09 went to 46 areas or provinces with a total of 287 institutional beneficiaries, of which 29 are from Luzon, eight from the Visayas, and 10 from Mindanao.
Of those that did not receive a centavo of the assistance, 10 are from Luzon, eight are from the Visayas, and 16 from Mindanao. This means 35 local government units (LGUs) got zero PCSO-IFAP.
PCSO's SPD recommended the review of the impact of the agency's various projects funded through the IFAP and based on the NCSB’s poverty incidence indicators.
“The study can help strengthen and prioritize more responsive and appropriate programs and services such as medical, health, nutrition, day careprimary educaction, emergency response, among others,” it said.
Edd Usman, Manila Bulletin