Philippines introducing biometrics for social welfare program
A system equipped with biometric technology is currently being developed for the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program”, popularly known as 4P’s, in the Philippines.
The biometric system was developed in the Province of Leyte, which is located in the Eastern Visayas region of the country, and by the Income Creating Opportunities thru Technology Project – Information Technology (ICOT-P IT). The system is primarily designed to eliminate cases of fraud and to also help facilitate the efficient release of funds for beneficiaries.
The 4P’s program is the conditional cash transfer system devised by the Philippine Government to help poor families raise their quality of life. The beneficiaries of the program are families that have children younger than 17 years old and survive below the poverty line. Originally, the program was intended for poor families that live in far-flung areas who were earning just enough to survive, but not enough to send their children to school.
The new biometrics system is set to be launched later this month in Matag-ob, Leyte and will later be used in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao as soon as the minor kinks have ironed out. This system, once set in place, will require beneficiaries to claim their cash payment personally thereby reducing the chance of fraud. It has been observed that some families opt to surrender their ATM cards to loan sharks as collateral for their cash advances.
Can biometric technology improve the distribution of social benefits throughout the Philippines?