SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – A total of 32 poorest of the poor families from this province were the first graduates of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Western Visayas (Region 6).
“I congratulate you for being the first households to graduate from 4Ps in Western Visayas,” Belen Gebusion, division chief of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 6, said in her message during the graduation ceremony held in the municipality of Anini-y on Thursday afternoon.
Gebusion said the graduates had been enrolled in the Pantawid Program for the past nine years but their social and economic development has somehow improved after their children earned their degrees.
Pantawid provincial operations officer Jeffrey Gabucay said it was just the beginning as 774 households in Antique are set to graduate from the 4Ps. The graduation program will be held per municipality.
Gebusion said for the past nine years, the graduates received cash grants from the national government for the education and health needs of their children.
She urged them to continue the values that they have learned from their Family Development Sessions (FDS) even if they are no longer beneficiaries of the program.
“Continue to be responsible parents to your children and try to transmit the other values you have learned from the FDS to your children and the next generation,” Gebusion said.
Meanwhile, Anini-y Mayor Maxfil Policar said the 4Ps program has improved the lives of his constituents whose children have completed their studies, most even earning their university degrees.
“Your graduation in the 4Ps program may mean that your cash grants being received (have) already stopped, but see already the fruits of your labor,” Policar said.
He said the municipal government, as well as the provincial government through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), would still assist the households in terms of skills training for their livelihood.
Scholar of the Pantawid Expanded Student’s Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA), Ryan Sumugat, said he was proud to be a Pantawid beneficiary.
Sumugat earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Antique (UA) and is currently preparing for his board examination.
“I am a proud beneficiary because the Pantawid had a big contribution in my life,” he said in his testimony during the families’ graduation.
Sumugat said their family was so poor that he and his three other siblings had to share one egg for their meal.
“We also had to share only one noodle as our viand because our parents did not have work,” he said, adding that his father did any menial work available while his mother was a street food vendor.
Another Pantawid beneficiary Vincent Paul Clarito is now a teacher at the Belison National High School in the municipality of Belison after earning his Bachelor of Secondary Education, m Major in Social Science from the UA in 2018.
“To the other Pantawid beneficiaries, have the eagerness to finish your studies,” Clarito said, adding that other children from the poorest of the poor families need not worry that they could not graduate because the national government has the Pantawid program to assist them.
Felipa Ricarte Padasas, whose family graduated from the Pantawid, said they are now ready to exit the program because her daughter has completed her technical-vocational course at the Wright Technological College of Antique, and her youngest child has graduated from senior high school.
“I am just a laundrywoman with my husband who is sickly, so I can’t believe that I could still send my children to school,” Padasas, also a parent leader, said in an interview.
She religiously followed the conditions of the Pantawid and called on other household beneficiaries to do the same. (PNA)