THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday said more than 300,000 student-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the government’s flagship poverty-alleviation program, graduated this year.
DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman admitted that the greatest challenge to the government is the monitoring of 11 million children enrolled under the program. She said only one government personnel monitors 800 families enlisted in the 4Ps program.
“Ating pinapasalamatan ang Department of Education (DepEd) sapagkat sila ang kasama namin sa pagmo-monitor dahil yung mga teachers sila ang nagbibigay sa amin ng mga datus kung may present at absent (We thank DepEd because the teachers give us data on the children’s attendance),” Soliman told reporters at the post-graduation event for the first batch of graduating high school student-beneficiaries at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.
She explained that some children are stricken off the list of beneficiaries when their families migrate.
The DSWD said 333, 673 student-beneficiaries graduated from high school this year. Of this number, 153, 470 are from Luzon, 74,182 from the Visayas, and 106, 021 from Mindanao. The National Capital Region has 21, 844 graduates.
Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor households, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides cash grants to families who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for checkups, and attending the monthly Family Development Sessions.
A cash grant of P500 is given monthly to each beneficiary enrolled in high school while elementary beneficiaries receive P300 monthly.
According to Soliman, the Pantawid Pamilya program is not dole out but a human resource investment.
“Ang ginagawa namin ay investing, providing the opportunity para ang ating mga kasama na nangangailangan ng tulong para makatawid ay ating tinutulungan,” she explained.
Of the 4, 000 high school graduates that gathered for the post-graduation event at the PICC, 95 of them are top ten in their class, Soliman said.
Graduates who want to pursue a college education can avail themselves of scholarship grants from state universities and colleges under the Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA), Soliman said.
The program, implemented in coordination with the Commission on Higher Education, provides students stipend for tuition, books and lodging.
Those who do not wish to get a college degree can get free skills training from t he Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Soliman said.