Behavior change can lead to self-sufficiency among poor — DSWD PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 June 2014 11:14



The behavior or attitude of a person is one key factor that determines a person’s failure or success.

Being resistant to change of the old and negative way of life prevents a person from moving forward specially for the better and usually limits life’s opportunities for changes and improvement of the condition on their lives.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that certain positive changes in the mindset and behavior of the poor will help them cross the bridge from the survival stage to self-sufficiency level.

In an open forum here conducted with the media people from May 28-31, DSWD director for Social Marketing Service (SMS) Cesario Espejo said that the poor can have the chance to uplift themselves from poverty if they will gain knowledge on how their negative way of thinking and old practices can be transformed into positive ones.

“There are monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS) conducted for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P’s) beneficiaries each month that teaches them to be responsible in taking care of their family, valuing the health and education of their children and ways to improve their lives,” said Director Espejo.

Espejo cited that the teachings that beneficiaries learned from the FDS become their arms to seek ways on how to tap and improved their good qualities and change their usual unpleasant attitude such as lack of discipline, laziness, irresponsibity and other forms of idleness like gambling and unwise management of the little money that most of them earned.

“When they absorbed the teachings from FDS, they are eventually enlightened that led to change of mindset which is the main heart of the program—to help them understand that being responsible, disciplined, valuing education, improving family relationship and learning proper money management can help them uplift their lives,” he explained.

He added that as they continue to learn from the lessons in FDS, they get acquainted with other convergence programs of DSWD that contribute to the opening of opportunities for the poor beneficiaries to reform their lives.

He cited as an example the success story of Johnny Tolentino who was also interviewed by the media as one of the 4P’s beneficiary who passed the stage of being a mere survival and then was able to transformed his family into self-sufficiency level or a stage wherein they experience an improvement in their lives.

He pointed out that Tolentino is a typical example of a beneficiary of the program that developed and combined determination and hard work in finding toward freeing his family from poverty.

Based on the story narrated by Tolentino among the media, he recalled that before his wife became a beneficiary of 4P’s or Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), like the ordinary poor suffering from poverty there were times that he borrowed money just to provide something to eat for his family because of irregular income.

He sadly recalled that there are times he cried because of being poor that he promised himself that if given the opportunity he will not hand down to his children the sad fate of being poor and lacking enough education to explore other high paying jobs.

The farmer said that they (he and his wife) jointly put up a vegetable garden and worked hard with perseverance as they dream together that one day they will become self-sufficient and improved their lives for the sake of the future of their children.

They were glad that through the program they were also able to receive grants as much as P300.00 each a month for buying school supplies and other things they need to keep them in school and acquire learning which he and his wife did not have the chance to enjoy because of poor parents.

“When I availed of the P10,000.00 loan or no-collateral and interest-free fund assistance from the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) in 2011, I was able to increase our earnings as I planted bell peppers in a vacant farm lot of one of the affluent residents in our barangay Kematu,” Tolentino shared through their vernacular language to the media in a visit to him during FDS.

He said that at first the income they earned depends on the harvest they got from the vegetables they harvest and sell because the farm lot does not belong to them.

“We then keep on rolling-up our income for the business and after more than a year we already purchased a truck that we are now using to help us for the delivery of the harvested bell peppers instead of renting one,” he added.

Looking back again, he smiled and said that 4P’s had created a big impact on their lives.

“It teaches us to be more responsible and in knowing what to prioritize in life,” he added.

He added that certain changes are happening to their life now as they were able to purchase also some appliances which they do not have before when they started as a beneficiary from the program.

He said that as of now they are trying to save their earnings to buy the farm lot so that they can have higher income and eventually complete their dream of having a farm-lot of their own and a small lot for their dream house.

“Of course we are trying to save also for the education in college of our children. We want them to have better lives in the future. I know letting them finished college will be a sure step to prevent them from suffering the same poverty that we were once trapped into,” he explained with optimism.

In a recent assessment conducted by the Social Welfare Indicator (SWI), it was found-out that they are already improving their lives and now in the self-sufficiency level.

According to Edgar Sanoy, DSWD Project Development Officer, since Tolentino has children who will be grade 7 (first year high school) and another one in Kinder for this year will be studying also, his family still needs the grants to help continue the studies of their children.

He added that another child will be expected to be added as grantee since Tolentino’s wife is now eight months pregnant and about to give birth by next month.

And therefore while they are now classified to be in that stage where there are indications that their standard of living has improved, they can still be recipients of the program to safety net them from going back to poverty.

“They will remain to be recipient of the grants despite the surge in their standard of living so that there will be an assurance that they will not fall again to the level of survival or subsistence once more,” Sanoy explained.

Sanoy said that since there are situations that Tolentino’s family may still need the grant to help them to maintain themselves or improved further from that level especially in the event that the vegetable plantation can be washed out by floods which will require them to re-plant again and spend some of their income to finance the purchase of pesticide.

He added that in the event that the Tolentino family continue to prosper then, they can decide to request that they can be delisted from the program to give way to other beneficiaries who are in need of the grants.

Tolentino family is one among the set two-A beneficiaries of 4P’s in the municipality of T’boli that attained self-sufficiency level in 2012.

The total beneficiaries for the set 2-A reached 5,238.

Based on SWI assessment those who are classified to be in the survival stage are 41, 4651 while a total of 393 are in the self-sufficiency level.

During the first wave of assessment through SWI, about 4,326 of the said beneficiaries were classified to be in the survival stage while 745 were in the subsistence stage and 393 attained self-sufficiency.

4 P’s is a flagship poverty alleviation program of the government that invests on the health and education of the poor Filipinos to fit with the goal that nobody is left behind in terms of inclusive economic development.

It provides health grant worth P500.00 and P300.00 for the children who are studying in elementary and P500.00 for those in high school whose ages are from 3-18 years old from the families that are identified to be poor by Listahanan.

Currently, there are about 3.9 million poor Filipinos covered by the program and about 2 million will be added to it as part of its expansion for this year which will be determined when the assessment is finished within this year.

In receiving the said grants, there are sets of conditions to follow like sending of children to school, attending of FDS, regular check-up in health centers by receiving vaccinations and de-worming tablets.

The cash grants are given to them through Automated Teller Machine (ATM) every month and may be stopped or lessened if the grantees failed to comply with any of the conditions that they need to follow.

Listahanan is formerly known as National Household Targetting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).