“Sa tuwid na daan, mamamayan at pamahalaan ay matapat na kumikilos sa pagpuksa ng kahirapan (On the righteous path, both citizens and the government work faithfully to eradicate poverty).”
This was the message of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano- Soliman, during the ‘Daang Matuwid’ Caravan held recently at Club Manila East, Taytay, Rizal.
Sec. Soliman, together with Secretaries Florencio Abad of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Armin Luistro of the Department of Education (DepEd), Janet Garin of the Department of Health (DOH), and Ramon Jimenez, Jr. of the Department of Tourism (DOT) discussed the convergence of government programs and services, ensuring that there is no duplication and that these reach their intended beneficiaries.
The caravan was also attended by beneficiaries of the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, teachers, health workers, civil society organizations, and other beneficiaries of various social protection programs.
According to Sec. Abad, the ‘Daang Matuwid’ Caravan is a venue for the national government to hear the views of the people regarding different programs and services offered to them not only to see their impact but also to determine opportunities to improve these services.
The program beneficiaries narrated how their lives have changed.
Parent leaders Annaliza Ampatin, Dinah Poot, and Soledad Agpoon, who came from different barangays in Cainta and Taytay, Rizal, shared how the program empowered and helped them gain self-confidence, aside from helping them with the education and health of their children.
The parent leaders narrated their transformation from simple housewives to community leaders. Annaliza is now a barangay designated officer on Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC), while Soledad is the Vice-President of the Cainta Federation of Parents-Teachers Association and San Francisco BERMAI Water Association. Dinah received an award as “Natatanging Tayena as Pantawid Parent Leader” last March 23, 2015.
Annaliza, 42, from Brgy. Sta. Ana, Taytay related that Pantawid Pamilya has strengthened parent-children relationships. By attending the Family Development Sessions (FDS), they learned their duties as parents and how they should relate to their children.
“Dahil sa Pantawid, naging mas mabuti kaming magulang. Layunin din naming mapagtapos ng pag-aaral ang aming mga anak upang magkaroon sila ng mas magandang buhay (Because of Pantawid, we became better parents. It is also our aim to send our children to school until they finish their studies, so they would have better lives”), Annaliza stressed.
On the other hand, Soledad Agpoon from Brgy San Juan, Cainta, added that more than the cash grants provided by the program, they thank the lessons they learned from their monthly FDS.
“Sa FDS, binibigyan kami ng sapat na kaalaman para maayos naming magabayan ang aming mga pamilya (FDS has given us enough knowledge on how to care for our families),” Soledad said.
The FDS is a component of Pantawid Pamilya, and is one of the co-responsibilities of beneficiaries in the program. The session teaches parents on various topics including strengthening marital relationships, parent-children relationships, gender equality, budget management, and disaster preparedness, among others.
Soledad also encouraged other parent leaders that they should be good examples in their communities.
“Dahil sa Pantawid, naging aktibo kami sa pagsali sa mga proyekto ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno at ng aming mga komunidad, katulad ng clean-up projects at Brigada Eskwela (Because of Pantawid, we became active in joining government and community projects, such as clean-up projects and Brigada Eskwela”), she stated.
Meanwhile, civil society and people’s organizations (CSO/POs) who are part of the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) program also shared their experiences.
BUB is an approach in formulating the budget proposal of national government agencies, taking into consideration the development needs of poor municipalities as identified in their respective Local Poverty Reduction Action Plans (LPRAP). These are formulated with the strong participation of local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations, and people’s organizations.
The Rizal Province CSO, which is comprised of vulnerable sectors, such as senior citizens, persons with disabilities, marginalized farmers, fisherfolk, and solo parents, said that through BUB, they were provided with community and livelihood projects which helped sustain the needs of their families and communities.
Christopher Roda, 41, from Brgy. San Jose, Antipolo City narrated how he used to line up [H3] in the community artesian well to fetch water.
“Dahil sa BUB, marami na kaming tubig higit pa sa aming pangangailangan (Because of BUB, we now have all the water that we need),” he enthused.
Sustaining the change
Responding to the testimonies, Sec. Soliman emphasized that, “Magkatuwang tayo sa pagbabago (We are partners in development).”
The secretaries were glad to hear about the impact of government programs from the beneficiaries, but noted that they must also help to continue such change.
Sec. Soliman also encouraged the beneficiaries to share their stories of change to the public.
“Kayo ang testigo na may mga pagbabago sa buhay n’yo. Kayo ang garantiya na may pagbabago kaya mahalaga na binabahagi n’yo ang mga pagbabagong ito (You are the witnesses and the proof of positive change. It is important that you share your stories),” Sec. Soliman added.
Sec. Jimenez also emphasized the importance of the people in ensuring that these changes in their lives will be sustained.
“Ang pagpapatuloy ng daang matuwid ay ang pagpapatuloy ng inyong istorya (The success of this administration’s straight path is your continued journey toward change),” Sec. Jimenez shared.