Elsa Sabellana, a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, denies criticisms that Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program encourages beneficiaries like her to be lazy and rely on government support.

“That is not true,” she says. “It is actually the other way around. Pantawid Pamilya has taught me to become a better mother, a wife, and an individual.”

Elsa, who lives in Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, believes that the Program has taught her to work harder, to be diligent in what she does, and to be participative in community works. As a homemaker, she finds ways to make ends meet with the meager income that her husband gets from driving a rented tricycle. To help her family of eight, she sells foods and snacks to children in schools and does manicure and pedicure services.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households, particularly of children aged 0-18 years old. It provides a monthly cash grant of a maximum of P1,400 for qualified households provided that they comply with the conditions set by the program. Families who fail to comply with certain conditions will not receive the benefit corresponding to the conditions and are given reminders by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the implementing agency of the Program.

Elsa explains that she has been attending Pantawid Pamilya’s Family Development Session which discusses on various topics like disaster preparedness, family relationships and marriage, good and effective parenting, community participation, health, among others. “Although we were told to attend this so that we will continue receiving the grant from Pantawid Pamilya, we actually learned to love attending the sessions because it teaches us on how we can improve our lives and protect ourselves from risks.”

“With the Pantawid Pamilya cash grants, I am no longer worried about whether I can send my children to school and provide for their health needs. All I have to think now is ensure that they stay in school and they stay healthy,” she says. “I can now save some of our money, find more ways to earn more.”

Elsa, who is also a Parent Leader for Pantawid Pamilya in her village, also monitors that her friends who are beneficiaries of the Program also complies with the Program conditions so that they also will continue benefiting from it. “So far everybody is doing their responsibility to the Program. They send their children to school, they regularly visit their health centers for check-ups, and they attend family development sessions.”

Today, Elsa continues to sell foods and snacks in public schools and volunteer with her friends, who are also program beneficiaries, in community works too. “We make ourselves available to our Barangay Captain whenever there is a need for volunteers in cleaning up our village,” she shares. “I have a responsibility at home, and I also have a responsibility to my community.” She shared that she is also earning from her livelihood gained through DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program, making and selling longganisa.###smu