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Reliant and sufficient on their own – this is now the way to portray the 15 Tacurongnons, who over the years have been dependent on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), after they graduated from the assistance Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at Tacurong Pilot Elementary School Gymnasium.

 

The 15 beneficiaries – Mary Jean Quisto of Bgry. Baras; Mary Khristine Rose, Gloria Borrico & Jenelyn Caniel of Brgy. Buenaflor; Agnes Guieb & Amella Cape of Brgy. D’Ledesma; Malvin Casabuena of Brgy. Griño; Dionisio Banan & Arlene Sitchon of Brgy. New Carmen; Saina Danny of Brgy. New Passi; Luciano Angao of Brgy. San Antonio; Jocelyn Estrada of Brgy. San Pablo; Adelfa Indal of Brgy. San Rafael; Rene Florida of Brgy. Tina; and Myra Penequito of Brgy. Upper Katungal – were the first 4Ps batch to experience a graduation rite ever since the implementation of the program in the city in 2011.

 

The graduation ensued after the DSWD verified that each of the 15 graduates no longer have children aged 18 years old below in their family. This entails that they can fend for themselves on their own and without the cash assistance of the agency.

As such, this milestone in the lives of the 15 beneficiaries is also a manifestation of their success against their race out of being the “poorest of the poor”. True to that, all of them have sustained their children’s studies and their daily needs through the program. Now, they have graduates and even professionals who provide for their families.

One of the striking life stories among them is that of Jocelyn Estrada. Jocelyn tried her luck as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) but to no avail. That shake-up in her life is what opened the doors of 4Ps for her. After her entrance, she used the money to start a few businesses. She ventured out a “talipapa” or temporary fish market and expanded it with a “kakanin” or sticky rice cake business, which later on became even bigger as a food package catering.

With all the aid of the 4Ps, from the cash assistance to the skills development trainings coupled with her perseverance, Jocelyn’s once Nipa hut is now a concrete house. They were also able to purchase their own tricycle and is now on the track to acquire a Forward truck.

Gracing the event in flesh, DSWD 12 Assistant Regional Director Bonifacio Selma Jr. and Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Elenita Saavedra both conveyed their congratulations to the graduates and gratitude to the partner-stakeholders of DSWD especially to LGU-Tacurong as they turn over the case folders of the beneficiaries to the CSWDO.

Their statement was echoed by City Mayor Lino O. Montilla and City Councilor Lina O. Montilla who were also in attendance. Also, according to the incumbent government officials, the graduates can still expect interventions from the city government. Their graduation from 4Ps does not imply the end of the assistance to them from the LGU.

Further, it was during City Councilor Lina’s mayoralty back in 2009 that the 4Ps started to take shape in Tacurong. Now that she is a legislator, it humbles her and fills her heart to see the beneficiaries under her term finally lift themselves from poverty.

 

At the present, there are 2,554 Registered 4Ps Beneficiaries from the 20 barangays of Tacurong and only 2,072 members are still active as the others had already moved out and been pulled out from the list while 209 grantees, including the aforementioned 15, already finished or graduated from availing the government aid. (DECostas, LGU-TacInformation)