|From ripples to waves|
|News Features - Success Stories|
|Written by SMU|
|Monday, 07 April 2014 14:27|
Every child has the right to education and every parent would want that their child educated. But for many of our poor countrymen, education remains an elusive dream, or is it?
Education: A key to a better future
Johanna Lerona 38-year-old resident of Barangay Binoni, Salug, Zamboanga del Norte, wanted nothing more than a simple life and education for her children. A mother to three boys age 20, 17 and 11, she believes that with education, her children will not walk their trail to poverty.
“It’s really difficult if you did not finish your studies. I just hope that my kids will be able to finish theirs,” said Johanna.
Maymay Kusangloob, 37 years old, is a solo parent. She is from the Hanunuo tribe of Mangyan from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. She raised her kids alone after her husband died four years ago.
With small income coming from various activities such as pagnanami (the process of detoxifying Nami, the root crop that Mangyans substitute for rice, to make it fit for consumption), pagwawalis (sweeping), kaingin and selling crops, Maymay struggled in providing for her kids. Maymay always tells her children that they should not stop going to school even though they are poor.
“Nagsisisi po talaga ako na hindi ako napilit ng aking mga magulang na makatapos ako ng pag-aaral. Hindi siguro ako mahihirapan na buhayin ang aking mga anak at madali akong makahanap ng tabaho kung nakapag-aral lang sana (I regret not being convinced by my parents to finish my studies. It could have been easier for me to look for a job and provide for my children),” expressed Maymay.
Despite raising the children alone, Maymay is grateful to have found another partner in supporting her children’s needs – the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Johanna and Maymay’s families are among the 3.9 million households who are receiving cash grants from the Pantawid Pamilya.
It is a human development program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households, primarily of children age zero to 18. Family-beneficiaries receive cash grants provided that they send their children to school, get preventive check-ups for their children and attend the monthly Family Development Session (FDS).
Dreams do come true
The family of Christian Taglucop, 21, of Barangay Nipa, Palanas, Masbate, is also a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya. Being the third among the brood of nine, entering college is dream and is something that seems far-fetched. Little did he realize that his dreams will come true.
By the time he finished high school, he asked his parents to send him to college. “Pero, tandang-tanda ko pa noon, umiiyak pang sinabi ni Papa na hindi niya ako kayang papasukin sa kolehiyo dahil hindi sapat ang kinikita niya upang tustusan ang aking pag-aaral (But I could still remember, with tears in his eyes, Papa said he could not afford to send to college because his income is not enough),” he recounted.
Just like many other children, Christian dreamt of finishing his studies. Since his parents could no longer send him to pursue college, he thought that it was the end of it all. But in 2012, he starts to see another spark of hope after being identified as one of the recipients for the Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA).
Apart from support given to children until they finish high school, the Pantawid Pamilya also extended help to selected and qualified students entering college.
The national government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and in partnership with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) instituted the SGP-PA. It provides higher education to poor households that will give them better opportunities of being employed that will eventually help them improved quality of life.
Under SGP-PA, a student grantee like Christian receives a maximum of P60,000 per school year to cover tuition fees, school supplies, food, clothing, lodging and other school related expenses.
Christian is currently in his second year taking up Bachelor of Science in Fisheries in Bicol University (BU) Tabaco Campus.
“Masayang masaya po ako ngayon sa kurso ko. Pinag-iigihan ko pong mag-aral ng mabuti dahil gusto ko pong makatulong sa mgakapatid ko na makatapos sila hanggang kolehiyo (I am so happy now with my course. I study hard because I want to help my siblings finish their studies up until college)”, he concluded.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that, “The government is making a worthy investment, an investment that do not only promote the rights of the children but an investment that will bring our children to better place.”
Soliman added that the department aims to increase the number of SGP-PA grantee so that more children will be provided with higher education and that more households will have better chances of improving their lives. In June, the SGP-PA is set to cover an additional 36,000 incoming college students.
Beneficiaries of the program are required to take up courses that are among those identified based on the national development plans manpower demands for annual year 2014-2015. These include Information Technology (IT)-related courses, Agriculture, Teacher Education, Science and Math, Engineering and Health Sciences-related courses.
The Big Wave
Pantawid Pamilya was launched in 2008 covering 300,000 households. The program scaled up to 3.9 million households by the end of 2013.
In 2012, the program, together with CHED and DOLE, started the SGP-PA for selected Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries. This year, the SGP-PA which is now the Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) will also be opened to other indigent but deserving households identified as poor under the National Household Targeting System (NHTS-PR). ###