ILOILO City – With their children already reaching the age of 18, a total of 10, 393 households in Region 6 are graduating from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program this year.
Of the number, Aklan has 869 households; Antique, 1,006; Capiz, 1,507; Guimaras, three; Iloilo, 3,203, and Negros Occidental, 3,805.
The program has been implemented since 2008 in Western Visayas, with beneficiaries receiving the aid for more than 10 years, provided they have children with age zero to 18.
Pantawid Division Chief Belen Gebusion said these families were supposed to exit last year because of absence of eligible children to be monitored by the program, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were given consideration to extend for another six months, which was until January of this year to receive their cash grants.
“Graduation in the Pantawid must be celebrated, must be thought of positively, and most importantly must be a dream of every 4Ps beneficiary. Majority of these households have improved well-being since the government has invested in their children’s education and heatlh. We are also optimistic that even without the grant from 4Ps, our exiting beneficiaries will continue to live the values and practices learned from the program through the Family Development Session (FDS),” said Gebusion.
According to Gebusion, beneficiaries will be turned over to the Local Government Units for the after care services based on the Kilos-Unlad Framework. Kilos Unlad is a social case management strategy that aims to guide the households in achieving improved well-being, stepping out of poverty, and employing individual/family cooperation. The LGU will continue to monitor and even assist in the provision of support interventions as outline in the approved sustainability plan.
Meanwhile, Imelda Montes, 56, a Parent Leader from Brgy. Aranas, said she can prove that the program is successful in improving the well-being of their family. She invested her income from the egg-laying project provided through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) and she is now a sari-sari store owner.
Both of her children are already in college and are taking up Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration at Aklan State University in Banga. Her husband is regularly employed as a welder of Royal Supermart, a local business. She said their combined income can now sustain their daily needs and provide for the education of their children.
“We can stand on our own already even without the help of our government,” she said.
On her part, Lindsay Castillo Felipe, 57, of Brgy. Calizo, also of this municipality, said that she is even more thankful for her four children having finished college. Two are already working as nurse and teacher, respectively while the other one is a new graduate of Computer Science.
She has only one remaining child enrolled in college who is taking up a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education major in English. Known for her leadership, she is the current president of the Child Development Workers in the municipality.
Currently, there are 326, 501 active Pantawid households in Western Visayas.//
Photo taken in Anini-y, Antique