Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. OKs institutionalization of basic social security guarantees

2023 April 20

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. approved on Thursday the recommendation for the Social Protection Floor (SPF) that will prevent or protect the vulnerable population of the country against poverty, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.

In a Palace briefing, Balisacan said the approval of the recommendation for SPF is a landmark measure following almost 10 years of stakeholder and multipartite consultations that began in 2014.

“The social protection floor refers to (a) nationally defined set of basic social security guarantees that aim to prevent or alleviate poverty, vulnerability, and social exclusion… The guarantees should ensure that at a minimum, everyone in need has access to essential health care and basic social services,” he said.

The NEDA chief said the SPF framework aims to institutionalize the existing programs, especially programs that provided support to vulnerable groups that have been proven to work so that they do not have to start all over again when exposed to risks.

“We are a country that is exposed to a lot of risks, particularly now that we have climate change risk. We want to make sure that when these vulnerable members of our society (are) exposed to this risk that they do not fall to poverty because of those exposures,” he said.

Balisacan added the framework will also help the government to sustain the progress it is making in poverty reduction.

He cited four basic guarantees that cover the entire lifecycle — health, including maternity care; children, active age; and older persons.

Balisacan said the SPF for health will push for the complete implementation of Universal Health Care, ensuring that all individuals have access to adequate health services.

The SPF for children will focus on providing child nutrition, health and care.

Among the recommendations under the SPF for children include enhancing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); increasing the number of days for feeding programs from 120 to 290 in the medium term and to 365 days at the end of the Marcos administration and providing ready-to-eat nutritious food to children during calamities; addressing teenage pregnancy; program for Children in Need of Special Protection; and providing for healthcare and mental health support, and many other services.

SPF for active age will provide support to Filipinos who are unable to earn sufficient income, including those in the informal economy.

Initiatives for this SPF include emergency employment, enrollment of all beneficiaries of livelihood programs in social security programs, enhancement of existing unemployment insurance, social insurance coverage for job order and contract of service employees in the public sector, promotion of savings mobilization, employee compensation benefits and programs for overseas Filipino workers.

On the other hand, the SPF for older persons will ensure that this population receives discounts, lifelong learning opportunities and integrated health services.

“Let me emphasize that today’s approval of the government’s Social Protection Floor is a significant progress in our country’s development history. This is a manifestation of the government’s commitment to significantly reduce poverty incidents and promote inclusive growth,” Balisacan added. 

Kris Crismundo