4Ps Exemplary Children 2014 share fun and learning experience in National Children’s Congress PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 11:16

By LEILANI S. JUNIO

 

Children-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) who participated in the National Children’s Congress 2014 held in Quezon City from Oct. 22-25 of this year said they really had an enjoyable and good learning experience.

“Most of the activities that we participated in the NCC had further developed our perceptions on our role in our family, school, community and as productive future citizens of our nation,” said 14-year-old Jemuel Steven Mago of Romblon-Region IV-B, this year’s winner of the “4Ps Exemplary Child” title in the annual search sponsored by the DSWD.

Jemuel, who is at present in Grade 8 at Eduardo M. Moreno National High School in Romblon, cited that through the group activities and forums they attended, they were able to speak out their “voices on how the rights and welfare” of children like them can be better addressed by the government, non-governmental organizations and othjer stakeholders of the society.

“We were also able to interact with other fellow children-beneficiaries from other regions. We all learned from one another,” added Jemuel, who was chosen not only because of his talent in declamation but also for being one of the regional finalists for the exemplary children who showed “stand-out sense of leadership” which made him earn the description “little mayor” by fellow children participants during the NCC.

Together with other four stand-out finalists, Jemuel won the award via a decision made by a board of judges composed of DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman, National Youth Commission (NYC) Commissioner Ding Dong Dantes, Council for the Welfare of the Children Executive Director Patricia Luna and 4Ps Director Leonardo Reynoso. The 4Ps children participating in the NCC were also given the chance to cast their votes.

Named first runner-up in the search was EG Boy Dabuan of Sultan Kudarat-Region XII.

Daisy Penano of Cavite-Region IV-A (2nd runner-up) cited that through the NCC, she was able to meet new friends and learn the value of sharing common and different views with them on matters that concern them and their future.

On the other hand, Ryan Christian Caudilla from Samar-Region VIII (3rd runner-up) remarked that creating a mural or art work was the one that made him enjoy most because that activity sparked his creative side.

Joan Grace Ewican of Bohol-Region VII, who was named 4th runner-up, said their activity on building a tower was the one she would remember most because that experience inspired her about the importance of unity, strength and cooperation in achieving their goal.p>Like other children participants and finalists they were also happy for the great experience of meeting other celebrities like teenstar Jairus Aquino and cast of “Batang Yagit” teleserye of GMA-7 while having the chance to visit other learning activities in Manila and sharing their ideas and talents in NCC.

NYC Commissioner Dantes, who shared with the children his experience as a working student before he entered showbiz, cited the challenges of having to work and study at the same time.

Dantes told them that through strong perseverance and determination, he was able to accomplish his dream to finish his studies and he believes that the 4Ps children can overcome any challenges if they will continue believing in themselves and in their capabilities.

According to Secretary Soliman, through the NCC, the 4Ps children-beneficiaries from the different regions in the country were gathered together to further hone their talents, knowledge and concerns/ideas for their family, school and community.

Soliman said that one of the concerns expressed by the 4Ps children who actively participated in the NCC was the idea of adding more children beneficiaries for the program.

“Many of them have suggested an increase on the current number of children per family benefiting from the program,” she added.

At present, the existing policy for 4Ps is giving cash grants only for a minimum of three qualified children per family, she said, adding she will try to study the suggestions made by the children in the NCC forum.

CWC Executive Director Luna noted that the other children focused on voicing out the need to further push on strengthening their other basic rights, allowing them to participate and have voice in preparation of programs and policies together with government, NGOs, and other stakeholders to make the programs more responsive to their needs and concerns.

As a poverty-alleviation program of the government, 4Ps invests on the health and education of poor children with the end-goal of allowing them to finish high school while maintaining their good health.

Implemented by DSWD, it provides cash grants as an incentive for the children beneficiaries to stay in school, have regular check-ups in health centers and attend the family development sessions (FDS).

Through FDS, the parents are also being equipped with more knowledge on their role in keeping their children healthy and educated, the importance of having good family relationship as well as their role in their community and how they can make use of their time productively.

According to Secretary Soliman, allowing children to finish high school will be the key in the goal to end the inter-generational cycle of poverty because the children who finish secondary school will have more chance to be employable.

As these children become employable, they will belong to the productive members of the society who, in turn, can help their family to rise up from poverty and improve their lives.

Around 11 million children are currently benefiting from the program nationwide.

A total of 2,000 children of street families and indigenous peoples (IPs) are also benefiting from 4Ps under the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) program.

Through the MCCT, the children beneficiaries are provided with cash grants as they attend the Alternative Learning System (ALS) mode of education in the barangay where they are listed.

Aside from the cash grants, the DSWD pays the apartment rental fee for the street families and livelihood component as support to convince them to improve their entrepreneurial skills not as street dwellers but in a community where the whole family can live safely while the children are studying at the same time.