TPA Now - Monitoring the Philippine Conditional Cash Transfer: Gains, Lessons, and Ways Forward

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This 6th issue of TPA Now shares an original first-hand account of a citizen monitoring initiative covering the biggest poverty reduction program in the Philippines, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the lessons that can be learned from the initiative by practitioners, researchers and donors supporting social accountability.

The main part entitled ‘Monitoring the Philippine Conditional Cash Transfer: Gains, Lessons, and Ways Forward’ is written by Aniceta Baltar of the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG). CCAGG is a movement for good governance based in Abra province, Northern Philippines that was formed in 1986. CCAGG is a pioneer of citizen monitoring in the country that has been monitoring government programs for decades now, including 4Ps.

Ms. Baltar’s paper shares the experience of two CCAGG initiatives that monitored 4Ps: the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCTP) Watch, implemented from 2012 to 2014, and “Guarding the Integrity of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program” or i-Pantawid, implemented from 2014 to 2018. Both initiatives have made considerable gains in making 4Ps more transparent and responsive. The lessons that Baltar listed at the end of the paper are useful in informing and guiding future citizen monitoring and social accountability initiatives.

The commentary part of this TPA Now issue written by Joy Aceron and Jonathan Fox draws key takeaways from Baltar’s paper for research and action, including broader reflection on designing, financing and scaling social accountability initiatives.

Some of the key lessons underscored by Aceron and Fox in their piece are the following:

  • International donor organizations can work to extend the reach of already-existing, locally-grounded civil society organizations, instead of supporting top-down external interventions.
  • In spite of the citizen monitoring’s consistently positive evaluation results, neither international donors nor the national government sustained or scaled up support for i-Pantawid, which calls for a critical reflection on the basis of decision-making by the donor community.
  • To sustain effective citizen engagement in government programs, the support for collective citizen action for accountability that utilizes multi-level and multi-faceted approaches, including community leadership training, must be sustained.
  • Synergizing NGO monitoring with policy advocacy of mass-based organizations could broaden civil society’s contribution to the 4Ps program and lead to improved impact and sustainability.