CITY OF CEBU – Thanks to the government program Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps), coupled with an absolute determination to go to school, five young beneficiaries of the conditional cash grant program are on the way to making their dreams come true.
Key princes Santiago, John Nick Calambro, Leendon Gelborion, caddy Jehserf Ervich Pacure and Nicole Cagas are among the 4P children who are determined to graduate despite obstacles.
Santiago, 18, from Barangay Maglinao in Basay, Negros Oriental, is expected to enter college this year.
She graduated with honors from General Flaviano Yengko High School in Cavite while working as an assistant in a beauty salon.
Her family is one of the 4Ps beneficiary partners in Basay and she says it has helped to support them.
Her father, Francis, is a construction worker currently working in Cavite while her mother, Karen, is an active parent-leader of the 4Ps in their village.
“My parents decided that I would finish high school in Imus City because my father is also a construction worker there,” Santiago said in an interview.
The oldest of four siblings, she values education and believes it is the key to achieving her dreams.
“Nothing is impossible if you work hard for your dreams. I will always be a proud child beneficiary of 4P. The program has helped me a lot to continue my studies. I wanted to be an inspiration for other children who have the same dreams as mine, ”she said.
Calambro de Mabinay, 15, Negros Oriental wants to be a teacher.
At a young age, he once worked on the farm to help put food on the table while doing household chores such as cooking, washing clothes and feeding the chickens in their backyard.
His parents separated when he was only five years old and he has only vague memories of his mother.
He and his younger sister, Rhian Mae, would be left in the care of their aunt or grandfather, who live near their home.
Often they were left alone whenever their father worked on the sugarcane farm.
When their family became a member of 4Ps, it increased her father’s income.
It would only be for a while, as his father left them in 2017 to be with his new partner in Cebu, leaving Calambro and his sister with their grandfather.
“Lisud gyud to kay wala naman si Dad ug wala na siya nagpadala namo mao nga naka-undang ko og usa ka tuig sa eskwela aron makatabang sa bukid (Life was difficult because our father left us and he doesn’t send us any more support. So I have to leave school for a year to work on the farm, “he recalls.
With the help and encouragement of the 4Ps Municipal Links (ML) and parent leaders, he returned to school. They also asked his father to return the 4Ps payment card.
The ML processed the change and made the boy the beneficiary.
Now the siblings are back to school, their aunt regularly attends the 4Ps Family Development Session (FDS), while Calambro does odd jobs helping his grandfather and selling vegetables for extra income.
“Paninguhaon nako nga makahuman og eskwela aron makab-ot nako akong pangandoy nga mahimong teacher (I would strive to complete my studies to fulfill my dream of teaching), ”he said, inspired by the dedication and patience of his mentors.
“Bisan paman sa among naagian sa akong igsuon magpadayon gihapon kami sa pag-eskwela (Despite the difficulties that my sister and I face, we will continue to study), ”he said, sharing his excitement about entering ninth grade.
The natives of Cebu, Gelborion d’Argao and Pacure de Liloan and Cagas de Batuan, Bohol all graduated from high school with flying colors.
“Being a 4P recipient has helped me realize my vision of completing my education through hard work and responsibilities,” Gelborion said.
Pacure, meanwhile, encouraged all students to “work hard, continue to inspire others and spread positivity.”
“The life of a student is full of ups and downs. Whatever the outcome, it is always a pleasant ride. With the help of the 4P program, I managed to complete my high school education and experience a unique journey, ”Cagas explained.
4Ps provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor and keeps children aged 0-18 healthy and in school.
The program is implemented by the Ministry of Social Protection and Development, with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and the National Authority for the Economy and Development as partners.
Households receive cash grants if children stay in school, have regular check-ups, and have their growth monitored.
Parents or guardians are required to participate in the monthly community SDS where they receive counseling on child discipline, disaster preparedness and women’s rights. (ANP)