CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, February 10 (PIA) — For people who have less in fortune, getting a help from a particular organization, charity programs and others would be one of the hopeful ways for them to get out or at least ease the indigence they are experiencing.

In line with this, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or also known as Pantawid Pamilya is one of the many programs that the government provides to improve the lives of the people.

Implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Program aims to alleviate poverty simply through offering marginalized families cash allowance granting that they would follow all the conditions of the Program.

One beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya is Vilma Montes-Beñas, 42, with two children aged 10 and 9. Vilma became a beneficiary of this Program since 2009. According to Vilma, she never thought that she will be chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Program and will be given the chance to give a better life to her children.

Despite the fact that she came from a less fortunate family, Vilma did not expect much from the Program as she has lived all her life working hard just to earn for a living. She flew to Manila during his early teenage years to get a job to support herself and her family.

While in Manila, she met her husband, Roland Beñas. After months of knowing each other, they decided to come home to Vilma’s hometown in Cagayan de Oro after they learned that she was pregnant. From then on, they lived together and got married in 2010.

Knowing that both of them do not have a good job to support their family, Vilma cheerfully shared that the Pantawid Pamilya really became a big help in terms of giving their kids the right to be sent to school and be given a healthy environment.

“Nagpasalamat gyud kaayo ko sa gobyerno ug sa DSWD aning programa kay kung wala gyud ni, tingali pit-os gyud kaayo among kinabuhi karon” (I am really grateful and so much thankful to the government and the DSWD as well. If not because of this program, we would surely be living a pitiful life),” Vilma said in an interview.

Moreover, Vilma enthusiastically shared that with the addition of DSWD’s Self-Employment Assistance Para sa Kaunlaran (SEA-K) livelihood program, their life has become even better.

In 2011, the couple was able to loan P5,000 from SEA-K which enabled them to build a small sari-sari store and further helped Vilma’s husband as he no longer have to strive really hard driving a pedicab until late night.

In addition, the P2,200 that the family gets every other two months from the Pantawid Pamilya also helped a lot in supporting the studies of Vilma’s kids saying, “Kada dawat gyud nako sa 4P’s insigida pud gyud ko mugahin ug pampalit ug vitamins sa mga bata kay kahibalo ko nga importante gyud ang ilang kahimsog. Ug usa pa pud, ginatudlu-an man mi sa DSWD nga kining 4P’s kinahanglan gamiton gyud sa saktong pamaagi ug igahin gyud para sa kaayuhan sa pamilya hilabina sa akong mga anak kay kini para sa ilaha.”

(Every time I receive my 4P’s cash grant, I would really immediately set aside certain amount for my kids’ vitamins because I know that health is very important. Furthermore, DSWD has always been so consistent in reminding us to spend the cash wisely and use it only for the welfare of the whole family, especially the kids)

It is indeed undeniable that Vilma and her whole family are grateful for the cash grants they receive. The Pantawid Pamilya has certainly given them a lot of reasons to celebrate life and be thankful to God and to the people behind the program as well. In fact, her two sons never fail to always enlighten their day simply by giving them pride as they continue to do better in school.

“Unta lang gyud magpadayon ni nga programa sa atong gobyerno kay kini dako gyud kayo ug natabang dili lang sa ako kundili sa mga parehas nako nga yanong tao lang. Gusto ko nga tanan pod untang mga pobre sama nako, maka benefit aning maong programa arun matabangan pod sila nga mauswag ilang pamuyo parehas nako”

(I just hope this program will still continue in the coming years because this has really given much help not just to me but also to the plain and simple citizens around. I want every poor family to benefit from this program so that they would also have that opportunity to improve their lives),” Vilma added.

She also mentioned that DSWD has also requirements which should be fulfilled such as regularly attending to the Family Development Sessions (FDS) every month. The goal of the FDS is to educate the family, especially the parents, in disciplining their kids in a proper way.With this, it is envisioned that sooner, lives of the Filipino families will improve not just physically and mentally but also spiritually.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4P’s is a human development program of the national government. This program aims to help poor households by giving them cash grants, particularly for children aged 0-18 years old. However, the cash grants, which the beneficiaries receive every other two months, will only be released if the beneficiaries will follow the conditions laid in the said program.

On the other hand, the Self-Employment Assistance Para sa Kaunlaran (SEA-K) is also a program of DSWD. This is a livelihood assistance program which allows needy families to loan in order to start their own business. The DSWD only approves the loan of those members who actively participates in the seminars, weekly meetings and business management trainings conducted by the DSWD.(Sherlyn E. Lugto/RTP/PIA10)