In a move to enhance understanding and appreciation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the 4Ps National Program Management Office, through its Social Marketing Division, spearheaded a two-day orientation for its media partners at St. Giles Hotel in Makati City from 7-8 May 2024. 

Director Gemma B. Gabuya, 4Ps National Program Manager, opened the workshop by highlighting the essential role media plays in shaping public perception of the Program. She highlighted the need for accurate portrayal to dispel misconceptions surrounding 4Ps, such as the notion of it being merely a dole-out scheme.

I know na ang media ay malaki ang tulong sa programa kung paano natin ipinapaintindi at ipapa-appreciate ang programa at paano natin matutulungan ang beneficiaries na kumbaga alagaan itong programa. Ibig-sabihin, iyong sila mismo ang magpatotoo na hindi nasayang ang pera ng gobyerno,” Dir. Gabuya emphasized. (I know that the media plays a significant role on how we communicate and generate appreciation for the program, as well as how we can help the beneficiaries take care of it. It means that they themselves should affirm that the government’s money is not wasted.)

Despite lingering misconceptions, Dir. Gabuya expressed optimism in the transformative power of the program, citing several stories of beneficiaries who have successfully finished their education to become licensed professionals, such as doctors, engineers, teachers, social workers, among other professions. She urged media partners to align with the new messaging of 4Ps, encapsulated in the principles of Pangarap, Pagtataya, Pagbabago, and Pagtataguyod, which resonate in the remarkable achievements of its beneficiaries.

During the workshop, resource persons from the Department provided an overview of the 4Ps program and its profound impact on poverty reduction efforts nationwide. Additionally, a workshop on effective storytelling was conducted to engender empowerment among media partners in accurately conveying the program’s narrative. Participating media partners include GMA News Online, TV5, UNTV, Pilipino Star Ngayon, The Daily Tribune, and DWIZ-AM Radio Station. State-run Philippine News Agency, Philippine Information Agency, Radyo Pilipinas, and People’s Television Network also participated in the media field visit.

Meanwhile, the second day featured a field visit where participants were divided into three groups to have first hand interactions with 4Ps beneficiaries, providing the media participants with the opportunity to gather material and craft stories that capture the program’s human impact.

BARANGAY 208 DISTRICT II, TONDO, MANILA CITY. As one of the key activities in the implementation of 4Ps, some beneficiaries from Brgy. 208, Tondo, Manila actively participated in the Family Development Session (FDS) facilitated by DSWD Field Office NCR.

FDS is conducted regularly among beneficiaries and crafted to respond to the social needs of the family. Along with the FDS sessions, community-based skills training was also organized by the Manila Department of Social Welfare (MDSW) through skills enhancement activity. 

Some beneficiaries from Tondo learned the step-by-step process of how to make dishwashing liquid. They were also given a list of ingredients so that they could make their own even at home. Creating homemade dishwashing liquid is practical and eco-friendly, and may also offer a profitable business opportunity for the 4Ps families.

MDSW helps disadvantaged and marginalized sectors to be empowered for quality life through sustainable, productive endeavors, and active transformational community participation.

Media partners from the Philippine News Agency, GMA Network, People’s Television Network, and UNTV were also provided an opportunity to engage directly and interview some 4Ps beneficiaries through house-to-house visits. This exposure enriched their understanding and appreciation of the program’s multi-faceted aspects and its positive impact on the lives of the beneficiaries.

CITY GOVERNMENT OF TAGUIG. The City Government of Taguig organized an engaging focus group discussion with media partners from TV5, DWIZ, and Pilipino Star Ngayon. During the session, they addressed media inquiries and offered comprehensive explanations about 4Ps. They also shed light on the ground-level challenges, such as updating household records and maintaining adequate staffing, to name a few. Highlighting the program’s impact, they also shared inspiring success stories of beneficiaries who voluntarily exited the program after completing their education and achieving self-sufficiency.

The said field visit in Taguig City also highlighted the remarkable journey of Marisel Peña, a former 4Ps beneficiary. Marisel used to work as a runner in gambling dens to support her family’s daily needs, having been unable to attend school and lacking the ability to read and write.

Sa totoo lamang ay isa po akong sakit ng lipunan. Ibig sabihin, pasaway. Ang trabaho po namin, ang binubuhay ko sa mga anak ko, is sugal,” Marisel confessed. (“I used to be a burden to society, a troublemaker. My job, the one that fed my children, was gambling.”)

However, when Marisel joined the 4Ps in 2009, she seized what seemed like a second chance at life. Through sheer determination, she became a parent leader in her community in Taguig, where she learned to read and write. Today, Marisel is a government employee and is recognized as one of the inspiring individuals of Taguig. She has successfully educated her children, who now have their own professions and careers.

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES, INTRAMUROS, MANILA. Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC), a microfinance initiative by DSWD’s civil society organization partner Catholic Relief Services (CRS), has transformed the lives of its beneficiaries by equipping them with essential financial management skills. This was exemplified by Olivia Dealagdon, a former 4Ps beneficiary turned SILC trainer, who not only learned to manage her finances effectively but also secured her child’s education. 

Moreover, the Project Shake, renowned for its provision of emergency bags and disaster preparedness training in earthquake-prone areas, has not only imparted survival skills to beneficiaries like Eimilene Parungao but also fostered a sense of community and connection among volunteers, particularly with neighbors. 

Spearheaded by the CRS, the Clean Manila, Blue Bay (CMBB) Project has emerged as a beacon of environmental sustainability, empowering volunteers like Mylene Mostorio to not only contribute to combating plastic pollution but also experience profound personal growth through their dedicated involvement.

Equipped with a deeper understanding and inspired by the beneficiaries’ success stories, media partners are more empowered to craft narratives that showcase the 4Ps not just as a social safety net, but as a springboard for Pangarap, Pagtataya, Pagbabago, and Pagtataguyod of the beneficiaries. By working together, the 4Ps program and the media can ensure that every story told reflects the program’s transformative potential.