The Filipino Spirit To Improve His Way of Life
Sec. Soliman informed that priority target is one million families identified as poorest of the poor by NSO – NCSB for immediate rehabilitation. However, the total data is a phenomenal 5.2 million beset by poverty, disease, illiteracy and hopelessness. This social intervention program is designed to break the shackles of inter-generational poverty cycle through dynamic human resource development.
Aklan carries a dubious record of 30.2 percent poverty incidence in 2003, 32.6 percent in 2006 and 38.1 percent in 2009. DSWD’s updated data reveal that 5,526 families received P34.0 million in 2009 and 6,639 families with P47.00 million in 2010. However, in the first quarter of 2011, the number of beneficiaries increased to 17,712 families with P37.1 million. Altogether, the number of beneficiaries reached 29,877 over a 2.5 year period with P118.3 million covering all municipalities. Fortunately 14 out of 17 municipalities of Aklan (except Lezo, Kalibo, and Numancia) are covered by 4P’s or Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.
Specifically, CCT provides cash grants of P500 per month, per family for health and nutrition expenses and P300 per month per child for 10 months schooling each year. A maximum of three children per family is allowed, the total to reach P1,250 per month. Cash withdrawal is done through the facilities of accredited banks (LBP) and or personnel of DSWD every two month period. Those beneficiaries found violating the memo of agreement is automatically deleted from the list. "So far, we witnessed many dedicated families eager to improve their way of life," said Soliman.
Sec. Ona said that "the DOH ensures that the most vulnerable sector of society like women and children must be given access to primary health care". This includes maternal (pre and post natal), reproductive and family planning services, vaccination and deworming program done every six months. As a policy, childbirth must occur in a nearest health facility administered by trained health personnel to prevent birth complications and death. Aklan has 51 annual maternal deaths per thousand populations which is very preventable, emphasized Dr. Ona.
The last strategy is an all out support to education involving pre-schoolers (3-5 years old) and youngsters (6-14 years). It is very clear in the program that illiteracy must be wiped out and that families be provided with basic education and skills to develop themselves. At least the child beneficiary must attend school 85 percent of the time in order to qualify for continued privileges, Usec Rivera explained.
A total budget of P22 billion was approved for the five year program the DSWD will implement in coordination with Advisory Committee members: DOH, DILG and DepEd. Cogent reason is the UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty, maternal deaths, and illiteracy by half of its present data in year 2015.
The Philippines poverty alleviate program appears more daunting and dicey each day as impact of local and international social, political and economic factors directly affect the bottom 30 percent of the Philippines population. This is exacerbated by limited budget and resources creating inefficiency and ineffectivity. Indeed a long term solution in these hard and trying times is job creation, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Whatever the outcome, DSWD as well as its partners are very optimistic that planned goals will be realized despite difficulties encountered. Notable case stories emerging from families helped through CCT reverberates with pride, dignity, and triumph. Yes, the Filipino spirit lives on! /MP