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In line with the celebration of the National Children’s Month, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program held the “Araw ng Kabataan” on November 22 at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Theater in Quezon City.

With this year’s theme “Isulong: Kalidad na Edukasyon para sa Lahat ng Bata”, the celebration advocated for better and improved quality of education for all children.

“Among the basic right of a child is access to free education. It should not be just education, but a quality education that allows them to be competitive, at par with other children schooled in private institutions. The Department, as the primary agency that looks into the welfare of each child will continue to lobby and advocate this until such time, that all children are provided with quality education”, said DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

To date, there are 11 million children aged 18 below who are members of the Pantawid Pamilya households.

The celebration of Araw ng Kabataan was in coordination with the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and the National Youth Commission (NYC). More than 1,000 children-beneficiaries and parents of the Pantawid Pamilya joined the celebration this year.

The audience was treated to games and performances from artists Jak Roberto, Zephanie Dimaranan, Sassa Dagdag, and Denise Barbacena during the celebration. Children-participants were given shoes and hygiene kits from SM Foundation, Inc. and school supplies from National Bookstore Inc. Art materials from Crown Supply Corporation and Yakult drinks were also distributed.

The AFP and Department of Health (DOH) conducted medical and dental mission for the children too.

Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children

One of the highlights of the program was the awarding for the National Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children 2016.  Reynald Baguio of Dipolog City was adjudged as the grand winner of the search. He bested the other contenders from 17 regions.

“We take pride of the children leaders that we have produced in the past four years. These children really deserves to be called as exemplary. Despite life’s difficulties, they continue to pursue their dreams. They inspire us to work harder to give them better future,” said Sec. Taguiwalo.

The search was launched in 2012 to develop young leaders in each region and encourage the compliance of the children beneficiaries to the conditionalities of the program.

Thirteen-year old Reynald, the representative of Zamboanga Peninsula, received P30,000.00 and a plaque. He is a responsible brother and son, a hardworking student, and a young leader in their community.  He values being a Pantwid Pamilya beneficiary and believes that education is key to the success of children like him.

“Ang pagkakataong maging benepisyaryong Pantawd Pamilya ay ‘di dapat sayangin; dapat itong pag-ibayuhin. Ang aking pag-aaral ay magiging susi hindi lamang ng aking tagumpay, kundi maging sa kaunlaran ng mga batang Pilipinong may pangarap ding katulad ko”, he said.

Other top five finalists were Anedaine Geamal of Tobias Fornier, Antique; Ihra Mae Madrideo of Ligao City, Bicol; Kian Jay Cosep of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte; and Rose Ann Dela Cruz of San Narciso, Quezon Province.

National Children’s Congress

Another part of Pantawid Pamilya’s celebration of the National Children’s Month is the National Children’s Congress (NCC), the yearly gathering of Pantawid Pamilya children-beneficiaries from the different regions. It serves as a venue for the children to discuss issues that confront them and recommend action points for the government to undertake.

Eighty-five children beneficiaries participated in this year’s NCC for workshops and other fun activities. During the Araw ng Kabataan, the children did a creative presentation of their outputs. They showcased their skills in singing, dancing, and acting. Some of the kids wrote the presentation’s script and song lyrics.