Extension of coverage of Pantawid Pamilya inspires children beneficiaries

Cagayan de Oro City —Beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has all the reasons to celebrate this 2014.

The DSWD is set to implement this year the extension of age coverage among beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya.

This was finalized after the National Advisory Committee of the program, the highest policy-making inter-agency body that provides policy directions and guidance on matters pertinent to program implementation, passed and approved NAC Resolution No. 12, series of 2013.

Currently, the program provides health and education grants to children beneficiaries aged 0-14 years old for five years only. With the implementation of the extension of coverage, the program will go beyond its previous five-year contract  to cover up to high school education by extending its coverage up to 18 years old in order to complement the K-12 program of the Department of Education.

Under the proposed extension, children in high school will receive higher education grant in the amount of P500 a month, but removing the health grant for those households who have been exposed to the program for five years and no longer have children beneficiaries enrolled in elementary monitored by the program.

The program also maintains the limit of three children beneficiaries per household.

Lawyer Araceli F. Solamillo, DSWD Field Office 10 Regional Director, explained that under the extension of coverage, children will be entitled for education grants until they are 18 years old, implying that they could benefit from educational grants up to 15 years, starting from age three to 18.

Extension inspires children beneficiaries

Irah Cristena B. Esporma, 14 of Barangay Bocboc, Don Carlos, Bukidnon and the regional winner of the Search for Exemplary PantawidPamilya Child 2013, disclosed that the extension of coverage has inspired her to excel more in her studies.

Irah is a Grade 7 student of Bocboc National High School and the eldest in the family.“I am thankful for the program and for the extension. It’s a big help to me,” she said, adding that the extension of coverage is a great opportunity given by the national government for her to finish her studies.

Irah is ranked number 1 in her class.

Another child beneficiary, Kerr Dynyle Calape, a Grade 7 student of Regional Science High School in this city expressed that he is happy with the extension of coverage of the program.

He said the proposed extension answers his dream of finishing his studies.

“It’s my dream to finish my studies and earn a job so that I can help my parents and my younger sister in the future.”

Selection Criteria

The selection of children aged 3-18 for education monitoring will be based on the following existing policy on the selection of children beneficiaries which include son, daughter, grandson and granddaughter of the household head: for Sets 1-5, the children beneficiaries selected by the system will continue to be monitored; for Sets 6-7 and replacement; the household shall select from among the children included in the household roster; for replacement and additional children beneficiaries to complete the three children limit per household, the household shall select from among the children included in the household roster.

Pilot Phase

A pilot phase of Sets 1-7 households with children aged 3 to 18 in 1,627 cities and municipalities will be implemented anytime this year.

The expected number of children covered during the pilot phase is 10.2 million throughout the country. Of this number of eligible children, 6.321 million or 62 percent are eligible for elementary while 3.875 million or 38 percent are eligible for high school.

Out of the 10.2 million children, 4,287.630 individuals or 42.1 percent will be funded with P12.3 billion during the pilot phase of implementation.

As of December 18, 2013 monitoring, Northern Mindanao has a total of 246, 677 active beneficiaries, excluding the beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer.

The implementation of the program has brought and kept young children in school. It also promotes human capital by incentivizing staying in school. (Written by Oliver Badel Inodeo, Pantawid Pamilya Information Officer)

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Mabanta Family is Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2013 Grand Prize Winner

Hardworking, participative, and with leadership qualities – these are but few qualities that best describe the grand prize winner of Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2013.

Helen D. Mabanta, together with her husband and siblings, are just ordinary dweller of Purok 5, Barangay Libertad, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, but with extraordinary achievements in family life, community development, academic activities, and spiritual enrichment.

The nominee family, an active and compliant member of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program for more than two years now, is a spark that has shined for many years in their community. Rachel is an active chairwoman of her purok and volunteer of the Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA that promotes women empowerment in the village through participation and trainings in the implementation of the said project.

As chairwoman of her sub-village, Helen encourages pahina, a local word for volunteerism, for the PAMANA project while acting as well as member of the Bids and Awards Committee of the village.

She is not only excelling in leadership, but also in beautifying and greening her village. Her one of a kind garden with a fish pond has earned her recognition in her town, province and the whole region of Northern Mindanao.  In 2010 and 2011, she bested the whole contingents of Kauswagan town in household gardening contest organized by the Department of Agriculture and the local government of Kauswagan. Due to persistence, labor, and love for environment; the vegetable garden with fish pens becomes one of her sources of income; aside from the fact that it provides them vegetables and viand.

The Municipal Agriculture Office of Kauswagan recognizes backyard gardening of the family because it promotes “Food Always in the Home (FAITH).” As it is, the regional office of DA endorses other farmers to emulate and duplicate the backyard garden of the family.

The husband and wife nominee never faltered in rearing their children with love and high respect. The parents inculcated in the minds of the children to be God-center individuals, humble, kind, and obedient to anyone. The mother nominee also extends her passion and advocacy in teaching her neighbord good values.

She did not let things get her down and was proud of being a mother, a wife, a chairwoman, a volunteer, and a Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiary.

The family laid a strong foundation of family life and is encouraging other neighboring families to do the same.

Aside from the spiritual nutrients, physical and biological needs are also given by the parent nominee to their children. Even before their enrollment to Pantawid Program; the parents have been planting variety of vegetables: gabi, eggplant, malunggay, okra, squash, among others; to their small backyard garden. The garden became the food and nutrient provider to the family.

 

The Mabanta couple also divides household chores among their four children, promoting unity, cleanliness, participation and strong family ties. While the other is tasked to help Helen on laundry, the other child will take care of the chickens they have acquired as tenant from a neighbor, and still others will cook food for the whole family.

Aside from the vegetable garden, the family is always active in the community. They join other families of Barangay Libertad in cleaning the streets regularly, volunteering for PAMANA project and in every activities of their village.

The family is also active in their school as Helen is one of the officers of the Parents-Teachers Association. Almost all activities of the school, the Mabanta couple are present to support their children.

The family has a lot to do with the large number of family who are now involved in the village activities. They see the servant leadership of the nominee- setting examples to their neighbors and the caring and commitment they show and catch some of their spirit and “can-do” attitude!

Aside from being a servant-leader in school, the five children of this family are all achievers. All children of the Mabanta family completed their respective elementary education with honors. Both parents always reminded the children that education is their best legacy they can give to their children as they promise to support for the education of their children until they will all have their degrees and title.

Momentarily, the family is thankful for the grants they have received from Pantawid Pamilya as they can provide all educational and health needs of their children. Each of the children beneficiaries has its complete school supplies bought because of the grant. Aside from the regular medical check-up, the parent nominee provides food supplements and nutritious food for their children.

Though, only three are grantees, but all of the children have enjoyed the full benefits of the grant, as the parents efficiently managed the grant only and for their children’s welfare.

The meager income of Rolando from being a highway cleaner of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is for other expenses of the whole family. The Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD Field Office 10 facilitated the entrance of Rolando to DPWH as highway cleaner.

These wondrous performances of the family has earned them respect, emulation, and love in their community, organization, school and church. (Written by Oliver Badel Inodeo, Pantawid Pamilya Information Officer)

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Higaonons: Proud and Getting By

 

You can never go wrong when you are in the countryside.

Bukidnon for example, offers a picturesque view of the mountains and a weather far better than any crowded metropolis’s discomforting humidity. Walking past unending greenery that is only dotted by interspersed rows of houses, one would only imagine what’s behind the innocuous plains, valleys and plateaus. Still, the hidden wonders escape yet patiently await both the lucid and the jaded travelers.

But it isn’t just about the delightful weather and postcard-perfect scenery that invoke images of unfussy parochial living.

The lumads

Past the bustling City of Valencia and from the city proper of Malaybalay, known for its Baguio-like temperament, off we went to Kibalabag which unknown to many, is home to the industrious Higaonon tribe. Some time during the two-hour ride and walk through pebbled and grassy roads, and a river that was inviting for a quick swim, we, a group of select-media practitioners together with some 4Ps NCR staff and regional field workers, were greeted by sudden rain. But as we arrived at the place, we were in awe of the welcoming dance-and-sing lumads that we totally forgot about the arduous trek. The breathtaking mountains offered a seething backdrop to the settlement that only defined consummately how ‘humble and proud’ they are as seemingly forgotten people. The tentative showers failed to dampen the festive atmosphere. They danced to the steps of ‘Pasasalamat’ and courtship, and even sang the Philippine national anthem in their own dialect.

HIGA means Living, GOAN means mountains and ONON means people. They could be described as “people of the living mountains.”

According to The United Association of Higaonon Tribes or UNAHI Mindanao Inc., the Higaonons are an indigenous tribe found in the northern regions of the island of Mindanao in The Philippines. “With a population estimated at 350, 000, they are distributed over five provinces — Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon. Since “Creation Times” the Higaonon have lived in their forest home, undisturbed, managing the forest in a natural and harmonious way,” the website said.

The tribe, it further added, is made up of eight clans centered in the eight main rivers of their “Ancestral Domain” that are divided into warrior and peaceful clans. They follow a Datu system of government where each Datu, generally an elder, is trained in distinct areas of expertise, e.g. administration, spirituality and education.

The women-beneficiaries of 4Ps

Wencelie Lagunday, wife of the barangay captain easily talked about how at least 30 women earned a living out of raw abaca that they plant themselves to craft baskets, bags, brooms and other home decors. “Mura lang po ito pero binibenta po nang mahal pag nasa labas na,” she generously quipped. She was referring to their products being sold to traders from the lowlands who bought them at cheaper rates.

Wencelie is one of the 1,204 of the nearly 27,000 IPs in Bukidnon who is a beneficiary of DSWD’s 4Ps. As a member of the ten-year old Kibalabag Handicraft Makers, she received from the start a P1,000 capital from the DSWD which was payable on installment basis to help propel the women’s communal livelihood.

“Matagal na pong bayad kami at sa awa ng Diyos nakatulong naman kahit papano,” said Nancy Odiseo, president of the handicraft makers. The challenge she said is to be able to sustain their livelihood. Apart from selling their finished products on cheaper prices, the travel to the trading areas is long and takes a considerable amount of money for fare. “Minsan wala nang natitira sa amin.” They would be elated if occasional visitors come to their barangay and buy their products. She said the DSWD has already discussed to them other programs they can avail of to reinforce and build on what they already have.

According to the September 2013 Valencia City’s accomplishment report, Higaonons has the most number of beneficiaries. “Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program has saturated the whole province of Bukidnon,” said the City’s report. The 4th district includes the City of Valencia and the Municipalities of Kalilangan and Pangantucan.

The Higaonons today are simply living by their unique customs and traditions – a legacy passed on by their forefathers from one generation to another. In their struggle to survive as indigenous people and adhere to the sacred duty to preserve the tribe’s heritage, Higaonons adopt to the challenges of modern times through peaceful co-existence and acceptance for what they really are — as relevant as every Filipino who has a valuable cultural and indigenous imprint. (Written by Ariel C. Sebellino, Executive Director, Philippine Press Institute)

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