BAGUIO CITY – The education and social welfare departments recorded some 10,611 children of beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) reportedly dropped out from school during the previous schoolyear which is considered to be a violation of the conditions of the enrollment of their families in the said poverty alleviation initiative.
Fatima Florendo, regional program coordinator of the 4Ps under the Cordillera office of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-CAR), said that it is the primary objective of the agencies involved to ensure that the said children of the 4Ps beneficiaries who previously dropped out from school for various reasons will go back to school as part of the compliance of their families to the conditions of the program.
She claimed that among the identified reasons for the children abandoning their classes include peer pressure, child work to help their parents earn income to uplift the living condition of their families and the desire of their parents to be part of the members of the family who will earn for them.
“Part of the conditions of the families being enrolled under the program is that to ensure that their school aged children will be in school attending classes for them to be able to acquire a higher level education that they could use in helping improve the living condition of their families in the future,” Florendo stressed.
Among the provinces in the Cordillera Abra recorded the highest number in student dropouts with 2, 314 followed by Ifugao with 2,297, Benguet with 2,1117, Kalinga – 1,583, Apayao – 1,437, Mountain Province – 831 and Baguio City with 736.
According to her, appropriate coordinations are now being done with the parents of the student dropouts through their family development sessions to inform them of the need to keep their children in school as part of their compliance to the conditions of their being enrolled in the poverty alleviation program so that they will not be suspended or eventually delisted from the list of beneficiaries receiving the financial assistance from the concerned government agencies.
The DSWD-CAR regional program coordinator claimed that the agency is not yet replacing the ones that were delisted in the list of beneficiaries because there is no replacement policy that has been handed down by higher authorities that is why the list as of the latest survey in 2012 will serve as the basis of the existing beneficiaries of the government’s poverty reduction program.
She added that the next schedule of the poverty survey that will be done in the country will be by 2020 that is why people who are waiting to be included in the list of poor families will have to wait up to the completion of the survey for them to be considered as part of the beneficiaries of the program.
Florendo explained that the number of children attending school significantly increased during the implementation of the government’s 4Ps program considering that one of the conditions to enjoy the benefits of the program is to ensure their children will be attending school until they graduate from the basic education program.
By Dexter A. See