For some residents of Northern Mindanao, life has been a struggle until the government’s “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” (4Ps) came along and made things a lot bearable for them.
This was the common thread that tied together the more than 1,000 entries in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 10’s (Northern Mindanao) essay writing contest last month.
The essay that bagged the top prize, penned by a former student-farmer, Vince Jamiralin of Kalilangan, Bukidnon, talked about how the economic slowdown due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic initially took its toll on his mother’s flower business.
“Everything has changed and everything turned to nothing. All cities and municipalities were (experiencing) lockdowns for the sake of their people,” Jamiralin, who bested more than 200 finalists, wrote in his essay.
“As the pandemic spreads, we realized that we needed to budget our money to meet our daily necessities as we only relied on the monthly salary of my mother as a utility worker. It made me realize the genuine nature of life, where we may confront a variety of challenges,” he said, adding that they eventually managed to get by with the help of the 4Ps.
Meanwhile, Asmen Tahir, who hails from Valencia City, Bukidnon, wrote in her essay how the 4Ps and other government aid programs played a big role in improving their lives and enabled her to continue her studies.
“By the year 2014, the best privilege and opportunity I had received was I became a grantee of the Expanded Grant in Aid Program for Poverty Alleviations, which aligns with the 4Ps program,” Tahir said.
The scholarship allowed her to finish her Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Management at the Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon.
Quenzy L. Salvacion of Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental, in her entry, recounted how she used to queue up for a ration of rice from the National Food Authority in 2008 when she was younger.
Her mother raised them at home while her father juggled farming and working part-time as a glass installer.
With his father’s meager income and the cash aid they received, Salvacion’s family put up a small food stall and later opened a shop specializing in doors and windows installation, despite the challenges in-between.
“My father experienced drug addiction and had nasty habits in gambling. Those times were terrible,” she said. “We depended solely on the assistance of the government and our relatives. It took us years to rise from that situation.”
Meanwhile, Desirie Nicole Daligdig of Tubod, Lanao del Norte recalled that her great grandmother used to help her family make ends meet.
Growing up, Daligdig had to contend with life after her mother passed away in 2011.
But when her father became a 4Ps beneficiary, he was able to provide them with food and pay the bills, while earning from hog raising.
Oliver Inodeo, the 4Ps communication coordinator for Northern Mindanao, said in an interview Thursday that the annual essay writing contest gives an avenue for beneficiaries to share their success stories amid the pandemic.
“This is also to recognize 4Ps beneficiaries who excel in writing, and to encourage 4Ps beneficiaries to share their positive stories of change,” he said.
Source: Philippines News Agency