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It Takes a Tribe

Australia’s social protection support helps ensure no one is left behind during COVID-19

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Robilyn shares essential items with neighbours, purchased with a COVID-19 emergency cash grant

Marvin Coralde, Sr. and his wife Robilyn are handing out rice, coffee, sardines, and noodles to neighbours in their tribe in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur. As beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), they have just received an emergency cash grant of PHP3,650 on top of their regular grants, to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and other public health measures. Despite being out of work and with four children to feed, Marvin and Robilyn still help their tribe by making sure no one is left hungry or desolate.

“I felt their hardship, but I am more concerned about their children than the parents themselves. That’s why my husband and I both decided to help in our own small way.” Robilyn says.

The Philippine Government’s conditional cash transfer program ‘4Ps’ has been supported by the Australian Government through the World Bank and other development partners since 2007. It is the largest social assistance program in the country, supporting 4.3 million households and 7.6 million children.

Households receive cash grants when they regularly send their children to school, and visit health centers for maternal healthcare and children’s healthcare. Adult beneficiaries attend Family Development Sessions which build a sense of community and help families to build sustainable livelihoods and improve their financial literacy, nutrition, resilience and disaster preparedness. Young adults attend Youth Development Sessions, which prepare young Filipinos to live healthy and more prosperous lives.

Marvin and Robyn are not the only ones responding to the needs of their tribe. In Aurora, Central Luzon, Avelina Abbig and fellow cash transfer beneficiaries are also sharing relief packs to other households in their tribe, particularly to the elderly and people who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Their mission is to uplift the well-being of their tribe’s families during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us different faces of hardship, affecting the most vulnerable especially the indigenous peoples’ tribes. It is also during this crisis that our deeply entrenched spirit of bayanihan – making sure no one is left behind, and of helping others despite our own hardships, shines through,” said Avelina.

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Members of the Kankanaey, Bag-o and Agta tribes prepare relief packs for other members of their community during the pandemic

Through our multilateral partners, Australia funds technical assistance designed to continuously improve the 4Ps program. In recent years, the program has included social support interventions for indigenous people and other vulnerable groups including women and girls, homeless street families and people with disability.

Australia supports the Philippines’ social protection reform agenda to reduce poverty and address inequality in the Philippines. We are committed to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable Filipinos are not left behind.

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