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PIA Press Release
2009/10/28

Feature: 4Ps and the Million Trees Program in Tarragona

by Sheryll Jane Sanico

Tarragona, Davao Oriental (28 October) -- Developing a unique approach to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and augmenting the benefits it can give to the people, Mayor Samuel L. Uy and the local government officials of Tarragona coupled 4Ps with its "Million Trees Program."

The Million Trees Program requires each 4Ps household to plant at least one seedling. However, each parent should be able to present the basic requirement - a marriage certificate and their children's birth certificates, before they can avail of the Million Trees Program.

"We found out that over 50 percent of Tarragona families are not married. We, at the local government, understand the importance of recognizing each household as legitimate," Mayor Samuel L. Uy, Tarragona Mayor, professed.

In view of this desire to achieve the vision of making Tarragona families understand and recognize the importance of marriage, Mayor Uy and the Barangay officials initiated the "Kasalan sa Barangay" or mass wedding for unwed 4Ps couples.

The "Kasalan ng Barangay" is scheduled by the Barangay after identifying 4Ps recipients who are not married. "Kadto niaging bulan, nagpahitabo kami og mass wedding sa siento-baynte ka mag-tiayon diri sa Barangay Cabagayan (Last month, we conducted a mass wedding to 120 couples of Barangay Cabagayan)," Felisardo Sapidan, Barangay Cabagayan Purok Leader shared.

The Catholic Church also cooperated in these mass wedding activities to support the Million Trees Program and 4Ps. "What is truly amazing is that 4Ps does not only help the poor families of Tarragona, but 4Ps also teach and encourage them to be responsible parents and citizens by doing their part to help the environment," Mayor Uy enthused.

Vina Bartolome, 34 years old and a resident of Barangay Cabagayan, was one of the beneficiaries who tied the knot. Vina has three kids and two nieces under her care. "Malipayon kaayo mi nga naapil aning 4Ps. Dako usab among kalipay nga maski sa gamayng paagi makatabang pud mi sa among munisipyo ug probinsya pinaagi sa pagtanom og kahoy (We are very happy to be included in 4Ps. We are also glad that even in the simplest form, we are able to help our municipality and province by planting trees)," Vina shared.

The seedlings that each household grows, as well as the other materials needed, are supplied by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government. The area is also provided by DENR and the barangays. The plants are then monitored every 15 days by purok leaders and reports are submitted to the Barangay.

The Million Trees Program is a joint effort of the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental, Local Government Units and DENR. On the other hand, 4Ps is a five-year anti-poverty flagship project of the national government that provides cash subsidy to extremely poor households to help improve their health, nutrition and education. Household-beneficiaries must then comply with project conditions to continue receiving the cash grants. (DSWD XI) [top]

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