Studies, Reviews and Research

Breaking Barriers to Access Social Protection: A review of Save the Children’s approach in the Philippines

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Save the Children Finland

This study is a review of the interventions developed by Save the Children in the Philippines to improve people’s access to government social protection programmes and related initiatives.

The Barangay Social Protection and Related Initiatives Link (BSPRIL) is one of four approaches of Save the Children’s Child Sensitive Social Protection ( CSSP) project in Leyte province. BSPRIL builds the capacity of Barangay local government units (BLGUs) to increase awareness and uptake of social protection and livelihood programmes. Key components of BSPRIL are the designation of barangay councillors as focal points for specific programmes, setting up a barangay household database that identifies the eligible and the excluded and raising awareness through barangay-level events (such as the Social Protection and Related Initiatives [SPRI] Fair Day).

BSPRIL is aligned with recognized best practices for addressing low uptake of social protection resulting from lack of awareness. It combines awareness-raising with proactive identification of the eligible who are excluded. Given the evidence of the role BLGUs play in enhancing beneficiary awareness of national social protection programmes in the Philippines, BSPRIL’s focus on the capacity of BLGUs is highly relevant. The focus on BLGUs is also aligned with the devolution mandates of the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC), which will be bolstered by the implementation of the Mandanas Ruling expanding fiscal resources to local governments from 2022 onwards. While the barangay-level household database might ensure that no one is left behind, it runs parallel to a key national initiative, the Community- Based Monitoring System (CBMS). Until recently, interested municipal local government units (MLGUs) were implementing the system using their own resources, but in 2019, the CBMS was institutionalized through the CBMS Act. In the long run, the CBMS is predicted to become central to the local-level delivery of social protection. The imminent roll-out of CBMS, combined with the lack of resources at BLGU level for a household database, means that investing in highly sophisticated databases may not be optimal.

The BSPRIL model has several strengths in terms of scope for sustainability. The BLGUs are legally backed by the 1991 LGC and are therefore not susceptible to ad hoc dissolution. BSPRIL also aims to work with existing standing committees as much as possible rather than creating parallel structures. It has acceptance among the participating BLGUs, as demonstrated by the fact that 26 barangays have also adopted the BSPRIL model through barangay resolutions.

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© Save the Children Finland and Save the Children Philippines, 2022




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