Feature: No more boundaries
By Recthie B. Tolinero
Cagayan de Oro City (11 June) -- In a distant area in Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental lays the peaceful yet poor barangay of Bitibut. In this instance, the barangay became one of the chosen beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
The program is one of the techniques of the government to reduce poverty in the country through giving cash grants to the poorest households. The project aims to address the prevalence of poverty that causes lack of education and health for communities. Such is the case of Barangay Bitibut.
Before 4Ps was implemented in the area, Kagawad Dindo T. Ontolan said that there are a lot of malnourished children in the barangay because their parents can hardly give the right nourishment to these kids. The sources of income of the people come only from farming and carpentry. Barangay Captain Loida Tumanlay even added that their daycare center serves only an average of 30 students in a year because of the incapability of the parents to provide for their children’s health and also the lack of motivation to pursue the best education for their kids.
The barangay captain further mentioned that because of the meager earnings of the people, the area’s income is also low. There are only few people who buy rice and other goods from nearby stores which limit the entrepreneurs in the area to grow their business or have enough profit to raise their children.
When 4Ps came into picture last August 2008, many things were changed. The barangay captain pointed out that the most significant effect of the program in the area was the increase of the number of enrollees in the daycare center as well as with the public schools in the locality.
The average of 30 pupils in a year has now increased to more than 70 and the enrolment is still ongoing. She said, "Kung wala pa’y 4Ps dili jud mudaghan ang mga estudyante diri. Maka-edukar na pud sa ilang mga anak ang mga ginikanan nga naa sa remote area (If there is no 4Ps there will be no increase in the number of students here. Parents from the remote areas will be able to educate their children)."
Aside from that the captain elaborated that she is very happy with their economic situation since the people now have the power to buy their basic needs in the barangay. Capt. Tumanlay said with a grin, "Nakadugang ug income sa barangay ang 4Ps kay ang mga tao diri naman mupalit ug mga bugas, de-lata ug uban pang kinahanglanon nila (4Ps has added income to the barangay because the people buy rice, canned goods and other necessities here)." She also said that she encouraged their people to buy their goods only in the barangay so that they can also contribute to the economy.
The barangay captain also expressed that with 4Ps, many doors for opportunities were opened. She is very glad because the program has also helped them in stimulating the people’s participation in the activities of the community. Kag. Ontolan further added that there are a lot of residents of Bitibut and members of 4Ps who actively join their clean-up activities which are conducted twice a month. In a happy tone he said, "Kasagara gani kung magpahina mi kay una pa muabot ang mga tao ug daghan pud ang matrabaho (Usually if we will have the clean-up activity people are very punctual and they can finish a lot of work)."
The residents in Barangay Bitibut are among the 1,634 beneficiaries in Sapang Dalaga. They are about 160 members of 4Ps in the barangay who enjoys the benefit of being able to provide for their children. With this assistance, the barangay captain hopes that the other officials will also experience the same and that they will also realize the profits that they can gain from it saying "Ok ang 4Ps. Daku ang tabang sa katawhan (4Ps is all right. It helped a lot of people)." (PIA) [top]