Feature: A blessing in disguise
by Sheryll Jane Sanico
Manay, Davao Oriental (24 February) -- "Maulaw ta nga isa ta sa na-identify nga poorest municipality sa Davao Oriental. Pero tungod niani angay pud ta magpasalamat kay gihatag nila ang 4Ps sa ato. Atoa kining panggaon (We should be ashamed that we were identified as one of the poorest municipalities in Davao Oriental. But then, we should also be thankful because it gave us 4Ps. We should love the program)," expressed Rachel.
Rachel Palmares is the school principal of Gregorio Moralizon Elementary School I in Manay, Davao Oriental. She has been with the institution for one and a half years. Rachel shared that since 4Ps came to them in 2008 there has been an increase in enrollment of 10%, or an additional of 114 pupils to the 1,100 previous population count. She added that out of the 1,100 total number of students in Gregorio Moralizon, 400 are 4Ps children beneficiaries.
Rachel is stringent when it comes to the attendance of the children in school. "If the child is non-compliant, i-record gyud, kay kung i-tolerate nimo mawala ang tumong sa programa (If the child is non-compliant, I note it down because if we tolerate this kind of behavior it defeats the purpose of the program)," Rachel added.
She personally monitors the status of the pupils regularly. She also pointed out that parents should be supportive of their children's studies. She also reminds them of their responsibilities on the education of their children. "Ako mismo gapahinumdum sa mga ginikanan matag assembly ug PTA meetings nga dili nato sayangan ang tabang nga gihatag sa gobyerno (I, myself, remind the parents in every school assembly and PTA meetings not to waste away the help that the government provided them," Rachel remarked.
Rachel is very proud to say that since 4Ps came, the number of dropouts had decreased from 5% to almost zero. Likewise, as a parent, herself, she understands the financial capability of the parents. "Mao gani naapil sila sa 4Ps kay usa sila sa pinaka-pobre sa Manay (That is why they were identified by 4Ps because they are one of the poorest in Manay)," Rachel commented. "Dili nako sila ginapugos sa pagbayad sa ilang balayrunon kung wa pa jud sila'y ikabayad, pero pag-abot sa ilang cash grants sa 4Ps mobayad man pud dayon sila (I do not oblige them to pay their school fees if they do not really have the funds yet, but once they receive their 4Ps cash grants they pay their school obligations dutifully)," she added.
4Ps' main objective is to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty through focusing on the health, nutrition and education of children ages 0 to 14 which is the most critical period of a child's life. The program also aims to teach and empower the parents through responsible parenthood and family development sessions. (DSWD) [top]