To Rise Out of Poverty

I would like to commend Rina Jimenez-David for writing her June 6 2014 column about beautiful and inspiring stories of families that she, and other members of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Multi-sectoral Governance Coalition “sensing journey”, visited.

She spoke of a family that is a beneficiary of the “4Ps”: the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program that was initially introduced as the conditional cash transfer program. The idea behind the program is to help families rise from poverty.

Ms. Jimenez-David wrote: “The basic premise of the program is the grant of regular subsidies to the poorest families in exchange for the meeting of certain conditions, including regular visits to a local health center for children and pregnant women and regular school attendance for school-age children.”

But what our author made us see is that to help the poor families rise out of poverty, they had to be helped to imbibe values that would lead to actions that improve their conditions as persons and as a family.

There are three things worth noting about what she wrote.

First, included in the program is attendance at a Family Development Seminar (FDS) which helps the parents and children to acquire values and practice virtues by knowing them and talking about them. Then they are equipped with methods like a “scorecard” to make sure they know their goals and achieve them. The acquisition and practice of virtues is at the root of any effort at developing persons and families, even of an entire society. What this program is also teaching is that to develop families and society we must begin with developing the individual person.

Second, the author mentioned that in the FDS matters like “communication between spouses, family cooperation and child rearing, health and nutrition, and even building a relationship with God are discussed.” I find this detail very significant. The world in which we live now is very secularized: many peoples do not want God to appear in the public square. Our country can be unique in this matter; the government is very correct to inculcate in our people the value of having a relationship with God. We still realize that God and religion have a very positive role to play in personal and national development.

Third, we can note also the role of the government officials. “The support of local officials for the 4Ps is crucial, as it can help direct and coordinate the work of local DSWD personnel” affirmed the article. The smaller societies like families, schools, hospitals, companies, businesses, etc., cannot achieve by themselves alone their own goals. Almost always, the government has a function to fulfill so that these smaller groups can attain the goods they seek. The government with its authority, power and resources can do very much for the common good.

This short article has given vital points that can help raise many of our countrymen out of poverty and aide all in personal and national development. Thank you Ms. Jimenez-David.

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