Quezon City- Despite the threat of the dreadful New CoronaVirus Disease 2019 (N-Covid19), some of our countrymen are taking steps to help in any way they could to help and contribute to the effort of the national government to combat the disease.
Aileen Eliver Araneta is the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Chairperson of Brgy. 3, Silay City. She, together with the rest of the SK organized a gift-giving activity to those households affected by the community quarantine, most especially to those whose livelihood suffered. The SK successfully launched a fund drive. On top of the SKs savings fund, the barangay council shared P15,000 out of the calamity fund. The Mayor of the Town also donated four sacks of rice.
Through this initiative, they were able to provide family packs to some 250 families. Each family packs contain 2 kilos of rice, 2 packs of noodles, 1 piece canned goods, soap and face mask
Araneta’s family is among the more than 300,000 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Western Visayas. She is also a recipient of the Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA).
“I am grateful for the programs of the government that helped me shape my leadership. In these difficult times, we offer our services to those in need”, shared Eliver.
4Ps is the national poverty reduction strategy that invests in the health and education of poor households. Starting March 24, 4ps have started releasing cash grants of the beneficiaries covering the pay period of December and January.
Program beneficiaries are entitled to receive cash subsidies provided that the conditions on health, nutrition, and education are followed. This includes sending and keeping their school-aged children in school; pre and post-natal care for mothers; regular and preventive check-ups for children aged 5 and below; deworming for children aged 14 and below; and attendance to the monthly conduct of the Family Development Session (FDS).
Meanwhile, in Brgy. Lumbaan, Bicbica, Pinili, Ilocos Norte, the group of Marife Pidot also distributed free face masks in their community.
“Ang pagbibigay ng libreng face mask hindi lang sa kapwa benepisyaryo ng 4Ps kundi rin sa lahat ay nagpapakita na sa panahong ito ay malasakit at disiplina ang bumubuhay sa atin laban sa COVID-19” (Providing a free face mask not only to the beneficiaries of 4Ps but also to everyone shows compassion and discipline will help us live against COVID-19)”, says Marife.
Accessing the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the DSWD, Marife learned how to make face masks. With her old sewing machine, she started making facemasks and distributed them to those who are in need most especially those that cannot afford to buy one.
SLP is a capacity building program that provides access to opportunities that increase the productivity of the livelihood assets of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities to improve their socio-economic well-being.
As beneficiaries start to receive grants and purchase some goods for their sustenance, groups of beneficiaries in Pandi, Bulacan started pooling some resources to share with their neighbors. The donation drive called Pantawid I-Share hopes to help other indigent families affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to Ms. Zita Aguilar, 4Ps beneficiary, they were able to collect canned goods and noodles.
“Madalas po kasi binabatikos kami na wala kaming gingawa at ngg-aantay lang lagi ng tulong, kaya ngayon gusto naming ipakita, na kaya naman naming magbigay at tumulong ( We are often told that we are helpless and we always wait for help, so now, we also want to show that we are also capable of giving and helping)”, said Aguilar
Through this initiative, they were able to repack 320 food packs that benefitted the other indigent families in the community.
Despite the quarantine being imposed, DSWD announced earlier that it will continue releasing the cash grants of the 4Ps beneficiaries to help them get through the crises. The beneficiaries continue to observe the governments’ protocol on social distancing and ensure that they have the necessary protective gears while doing these initiatives.
DSWD has also declared “Force Majeure” in the implementation of the program suspending compliance monitoring. All beneficiaries will be entitled to receive their grants in full covering the period of February and March. Likewise, the conduct of the Family Development Sessions (FDS) as one of the program conditionalities covering the whole month of March is also suspended. Classes in some areas have been suspended by the Department of Education (DepEd) as early as March 10, 2020. ###
(Photo: Marife Pidot from Ilocos Norte distributing face masks – grabbed from DSWD Ilocandia FB Page)