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Saturday, May 16, 2015

4Ps proves poor can excel in school

By Franklin P. Gumapon

PAGADIAN CITY – What has the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) accomplished since its implementation in region 9?

Answers to this question may vary – negative or positive – depending from which group the answer would come. But, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-9 has always the best answer to this question.

Lately, Ivan Eric Salvador of DSWD-9, Zamboanga City paid a courtesy call on the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-9 in Pagadian City to seek PIA’s help in the media coverage of the mass graduation activity to be attended by 4Ps beneficiaries who finished their secondary education with honors from all over the region.

One of the highlights of the said activity was a talk show with four high school valedictorians from Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga City, sharing their success in school as 4Ps beneficiaries.

Human development program

According to Salvador, 4Ps or simply called “Pantawid” is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor households primarily children aged 0-18 years old.

“This year 2015, the program has produced more than 300,000 high school graduates nationwide,” Salvador said adding “this occasion is considered a memorable milestone not just for the program but most especially for the beneficiaries who are a step closer to a better life.”

In region 9, a total of 23,354 Pantawid beneficiaries had finished high school last March, broken down as follows: Zamboanga del Norte – 7,098; Zamboanga del Sur – 8,222; Zamboanga Sibugay – 4,487; and Zamboanga City – Isabel cluster – 3,547.

Academic achievers

The data released by DSWD-9 showed that 1,171 or 5.01 percent of the 23,354 Pantawid high school graduates finished with flying colors: 109 as valedictorian, 81 as salutatorian and 981 as honorable mention.

During the talk show, Keith Jasper S. Guantero of Zamboanga del Norte, Crisjane A. Mandawa of Zamboanga del Sur, Elmer R. Gumabo of Zamboanga Sibugay and Ronie Giap of Zamboanga City-Isabela Cluster were one in thanking the government for giving them financial support for their studies. The four, who graduated valedictorian, said they were able to cope with their studies because of the monthly allowance they regularly received from the DSWD through the 4Ps.

They said their monthly allowance had enabled them to buy their needs in school especially their projects and to spend for their extra-curricular activities, which comprise 30 percent weight in computing the grades of honor students in high school.

“Without that financial assistance, we could not have competed with our fellow bright students who were economically better-off,” Guantero pointed out.

Best resource

A government official, who requested not to be named, was frank in telling this writer that at first he thought the Pantawid was a waste of people’s money that it would only make the poor more dependent on dole-outs. But now he has realized that the government was right in implementing such as a program to improve the country’s human resource.

“The 4Ps has really helped the poor students pursue their studies. What will happen to these poor but bright students? It is only proper that they be given the needed support by the government to improve on their lives, for human resource is the best resource any government can ever have,” he pointed out.