Archive | January 8th, 2015

Second Chance

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Road to Diversion

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Batang May Sala

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Crossing into a Better Life through ‘Pantawid Pamilya’

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon  — “Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength,” said Vercita Gawahan, a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary in a farming neighborhood of barangay Dahilayan in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Vercita, a mother of 13 youngsters, is one of the more than 3,500 profiled members of 4Ps in Manolo Fortich town who loves to just stay at home while her husband works in a farm as the sole provider of the family.

“Sometimes, I just chat with my circle of friends after my husband had gone to farm several kilometers away. I do not really work despite the struggles to make both ends meet,” she shared.

 

There’s Always Optimism

Growing weary with these daily routine, she thought of engaging in a work that could somehow raise family’s income.

She tried borrowing an amount from a lending institution but it did not work because she believed she lacked some gen–even the modest way–of handling family budget.

“There were times I had given up hope of getting some work or eke out a living to help my husband finance children’s schooling. But the whole fight is about not losing hope,” she said.

 

Building Better Lives

While life remains difficult, Vercita said it was much harder during the years before the government implemented the 4Ps through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The 4Ps is a government’s poverty-reduction strategy that provides cash grants to extremely poor households aimed at helping them raise educated and healthy children aged 18 years and below.

It utilizes the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme where beneficiaries receive cash grant provided that they send their children to school, get preventive health check-up, and the parents attend the monthly Family Development Session (FDS).

FDS is a unique component of the Pantawid Pamilya. Through it, parents learn how to respect and care for each member of the family. FDS topics include effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, gender and development, and home management.

Through the FDS, parents are empowered and informed of their rights as individuals as well as their obligations that they need to fulfil not only as husband and wife but also as parents.

In Dahilayan, the DSWD tied up with the local government to grant poor families with three children at P2,800 a month. Beneficiaries receive P500 a month for every child in high school.

 

Keeping Kids in School

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Gandelyn Bayoc, a 4Ps parent leader in Dahilayan, said the program resulted in an increase in the number of children in public school. “Classrooms are now packed with students,” she said.

“The Pantawid Pamilya truly helped poor families in the community because while attracting children to school is a challenge for most schools; keeping them in school is even more essential,” said Dahilayan barangay chairman Wenilio P. Sahonlay.

He, however, appealed to the beneficiaries to use wisely the government’s money they receive because it is a special blessing.

Vercita said that she and her husband can now look towards a brighter future for their children because some of their kids are covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“Through the 4Ps Family Development Sessions, I also learned how to turn my biggest weakness into my biggest strength by becoming passionate about the things I do now and not anymore so stuck in the lazy things I used to do,” she said.

The 4Ps women beneficiaries are now growing high value crops such as strawberry, lettuce, and cauliflower, among others. They are also engaged in backyard gardening and root crops production. (RLRB/PIA 10, Bukidnon).pia10-dswd-4ps-malaybalay-bukidnon6

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