MANILA More than a decade after its inception in 2008, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P's) continues to provide financial assistance to those who need it.
The program, hailed in various nations, has paved the way for hard-working children of beneficiaries to gain education and even graduate with honors.
In a thanksgiving summit with partner agencies on Monday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that for academic year 2017-2018, 23,489 students graduated with honors.
Of this number, 58 are Magna Cum Laude, 858 are Cum Laude, and 57 received leadership awards.
In his speech, Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin, Deputy National Program Director for Operations, mentioned how vital it is to convince and allow children of less-fortunate family to access education.
That [education, knowledge] are their way to escape poverty, through the help of the government's program, we hope to see more of them in the future, he said in an interview.
For academic year 2018-2019, there are still 12,778 college students enrolled.
Soon, there will be more of them, and their families will live much better lives, he added.
Joshua Jeno Cruz of Angat, Bulacan is youngest of six children whose parents' primary income comes from selling afternoon snacks and gasoline by the roadside.
In 2012, they were incorporated in the government's 4P's.
It gave Joshua the opportunity to go to school.
Even when he's born with arthrogryposis, a condition leaving the body with stiff joints and weak muscles, along with clubbed and shrunken hands and feet, he was able to finish Senior High School from Angat National High School with high honors, Gudmalin said in his speech during the event.
Before, his parents did not even know where they would spend their earnings first to Joshua's medication or house expenses.
But seeing Joshua's incessant desire to go on with his schooling, his family availed of the program and enrolled him, he continued.
And much like the beneficiaries, the program has also experienced solid growth in its more than 10 years of running.
From a social safety net buffering the impacts of the 2007 financial crisis, it has now become the Most Comprehensive Program Addressing the Vulnerability of Poor Households," according to a 2017 national economic development authority socioeconomic report.
Indeed, the program has come a long way; globally, Pantawid Pamilya has the distinction of being the third largest Conditional Cash Transfer program in terms of scale, only next to Brazil and Mexico, along with being the fourth in terms of share of the population, Gudmalin noted.
World Bank, one the government's partners in the program, highlighted in their report that the poor and vulnerable sectors in the Philippines benefit from what is today one of the largest and best-targeted social safety net programs in the world and is also considered to be one of the programs with built-in mechanisms to scale up rapidly when disaster strikes.
Truly, we have made it possible to directly wire emergency cash transfers to the CCT accounts of affected Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries during the onslaught of Yolanda in 2013, the deputy director said.
Before 2019 ends, DSWD targets to provide more efficient delivery of payment.
We are now working to convert all Over-the-Counter transactions to cash cards, he said adding that they are continuously exploring new financial technologies and infrastructures for the efficient payment systems. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency