DSWD-ARMM conducts forum on Pantawid program
COTABATO CITY - The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DSWD-ARMM) conducted a forum in Cotabato City which aims to raise awareness on the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
More than a hundred beneficiaries in Maguindanao and representatives from civil society organizations attended the forum.
Hja. Meriam Abdulkasan, Regional Deputy Program Manager of Pantawid program, said the activity is an initial step to determine the possibility of the 4Ps’ institutionalization through collaborative efforts with the stakeholders.
The program is the national government’s flagship poverty alleviation initiative, which provides grants to the poorest households in order to improve health, nutrition and education of children aged 0-18.
The DSWD-ARMM as the lead government agency of the 4Ps is conducting the National Housing Targeting System for Poverty Reduction or “Listahan” to determine other poor families in the region.
In 2015, the national government released P3.6 billion in cash grants that serves 418,030 family beneficiaries in ARMM. The program operates in five provinces, two cities and 116 municipalities in the region.
Prince Sean Soledad, the program’s regional monitoring and evaluation officer, said this would serve as an investment for the future of the Bangsamoro and could help eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, reduce child mortality, and improve maternal health care.
The Pantawid program provides beneficiaries cash grants of P500 per month per household for health and nutrition expenses and P300 per child each month for educational expenses. Households with three qualified children would receive P1,400 monthly.
To get state subsidies, five-year old children beneficiaries must attend day-care or pre-school classes and must get regular preventive health checkups and vaccines while those six to 14 years old must be enrolled in elementary, or high school with 85% attendance and must receive de-worming pills twice a year.
Pregnant women beneficiaries must avail themselves of pre- and post-natal care, while parents are required to attend family development sessions, which include topics on responsible parenting, health, and nutrition.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako ng sobra kasi kung hindi dahil sa 4Ps hindi makaka pagtapos sa pagaaral ang dalawa kong anak (We’re thankful to the government considering without the 4Ps, our two children would not be able to finish school),” Fatima Buat Nanding, a single parent and one of the 4Ps’ beneficiaries in Maguindanao said during the forum.
Nanding’s two children are currently working as teachers at Hja. Datu Saydona Pendatun Foundation College in Maguindanao. She reiterated that the government must sustain the implementation of the program to help other poor families.