The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is helping more members of indigenous people (IP) groups in the country learn the value of prioritizing their children’s health and education through its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Monaliza Remo, 42, an IP-beneficiary of 4Ps at Brgy. Puting Kahoy in the Municipality of Rosario, Batangas shared how the Pantawid program has helped her and her fellow Aetas realize the importance of putting the health and education of their family first.
According to Monaliza, parents in their community have learned to bring their children to school and to health centers for checkups ever since they became members of 4Ps.
“Noong una, hindi talaga mapilit ang mga nanay dala na rin marahil sa wala kami madalas sa aming mga bahay (At first, it’s hard to convince my fellow mothers [to bring their kids to health centers] because we are not usually home),” she shared.
“Ang mga Aeta kasi, kung saan-saan pumupunta para maghanap ng pagkakakitaan (Aetas go to different places to look for sources of income),” Monaliza explained.
As part of their co-responsibilities with 4Ps, beneficiaries are required to follow certain conditionalities of the program, including the monthly health checkup of their children, 85 percent monthly school attendance of the kids, and participation in family development sessions conducted by DSWD.
There are around 2,000 household-beneficiaries of Pantawid in the CALABARZON Region who belong to IP groups, both for the regular and modified Conditional Cash Transfer schemes.
To continuously provide aid to the Aetas in the region, the DSWD, through its Field Office (FO) in Region IV-A, recently partnered with the Department of Health (DOH) to bring free health services to the members of the IP group.
Around 200 Aetas were provided with health services during the ‘Katutubo Caravan’ conducted by DSWD FO IV-A in partnership with DOH CALABARZON at Brgy. Pinagsibaan in the town of Rosario last June.
The caravan was organized by the field office for 4Ps beneficiaries who belong to the IP group in the towns of Rosario and San Luis.
Aeta families availed of free medical checkups and dental services and were given medicines and vitamins. Some of them were also referred to nearby hospitals for further medications.
Jorro Dela Cruz, 41, a resident of Brgy. Bagong Tubig in San Luis is one of the beneficiaries who availed of the medical checkup. He was referred to the Rural Health Unit of San Luis for further medication, as he has been dealing with cough for a couple of months already.
Aside from him, his three children were also provided with vitamins during the activity.
“Maganda po na mayroong ganito (Katutubo Caravan). Hindi lamang dahil nabibigyan kami ng serbisyo, kung hindi dahil nabibigyan kami ng pagkakataon na makasalamuha ang iba naming mga ka-tribo (It’s great to have this kind of activity not just because it provides us with services, but also because it gives us an opportunity to be with our fellow tribemates),” shared Dela Cruz.
According to DSWD Acting Secretary Virginia “Gee” N. Orogo, the Department, through its field offices, is continuously providing assistance to different IP groups in the country.
“We at DSWD are doing our best to extend aid to our fellow citizens who belong to different IP groups. We implement programs tailored to them and we continue to collaborate with different government agencies and non-government organizations in the delivery of basic social services for them,” Sec. Gee said.