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From Pantawid recipient to Pantawid officer: the journey of Jenecile Parambita

Anyone who has experienced turbulent times in life needs  that spark of hope, that fuel to ignite a quest within them; a deep desire to break free from  stagnation, to go on with their lives, and to fulfill their purpose in a way that might inspire others. 

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is actually a refuge of hope that fuels the drive to move on even in the midst of a despondent situation, as evidenced by the many success stories of those who did succeed with the Pantawid’s modest aim to help millions of beneficiaries.

This was the experience of Jenecile Parambita, formerly a 4Ps monitored child now employed as a Pantawid City Link of Ormoc City.  She owes her education to the invaluable support provided by her parents through the Pantawid Pamilya (or simply Pantawid) program, implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). 

On April 17, 2019, Republic Act 11310 was enacted into law, thereby institutionalizing the 4Ps from its inception during the time of then President Gloria Arroyo. Besides education, the Pantawid program also supported the health and nutrition needs of household beneficiaries, who are mostly poor families.

"Reflecting on all of my family's adversaries, I knew that the only way to achieve, or to thrive, was to complete my education, to work hard. I have seen my education as the light at the end of the tunnel," Parambita sighed, trying to make sense of what had happened over the years.

She lost her father at 9 years old, faced the devastating impact of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, and witnessed her mother’s determination in juggling multiple jobs:  a dishwasher, baby sitter, house helper, labandera, with very meager pay.

Parambita, the third child in a family with four children, also recalled how she and her siblings experienced hunger. They just filled their stomachs with rice drenched in hot coffee before heading to school.

"Our hope was answered when our family became a beneficiary of the 4Ps way back in 2014. Back then, our house was severely damaged by super typhoon Yolanda, which hit us hard on November 8, 2013, and we still felt its destruction.  I remember apat na lang wooden posts yung natira sa bahay namin at that time. We stayed at the evacuation center for months.  And so, when we became 4Ps beneficiary, the benefits, the grants, were an enormous help to our family,” she recalled.

The 4Ps educational assistance proved to be a turning point in her life in two ways: first, it helped her graduate from Leyte National High School, and second, it also inspired her to finish high school with flying colors.

A smiling Jenecile in her internship uniform after having received four awards, namely: Academic Proficiency Awardee 2022, Good Samaritan Awardee 2022, Leadership & Service Awardee 2022, and Top 10 Model Student Nominee (S.Y. 2019-2022). (Photo by: DSWD-8)

The former 4Ps beneficiary was grateful to the DSWD program as its benefits continued even after its assistance had ended. This was because former 4Ps children were prioritized in the listing of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) scholarship by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which was used to pay school expenses.

Despite having no gadgets for studying in college, Parambita graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Leyte Normal University last year. 

"Being a 4Ps beneficiary for years opened so many opportunities for me. I really could not describe how thankful I am for the program, and how it motivated me. It has this force that really encouraged me to perform, to do good in school, because I know na napakaraming tao, isang gobyerno ang nagtutulong-tulungan, isang nation.  One nation is helping together to send me to school.  That is what I was thinking when I was receiving the benefits of the program," Parambita pointed out, putting into perfect perspective the rationale behind the Pantawid program.

An immense joy shown on Ms. Parambita's face as she posed for a graduation picture while wearing her academic dress. (DSWD-8 photo)

Meanwhile, Parambita passed the 2023 Licensure Examination and joined the DSWD workforce this year as a DSWD City Link assigned in Ormoc City, Leyte. The new DSWD 4Ps City Link always includes her life story in her speeches whenever she is invited to speak, as she is looking forward to inspiring and improving the lives of people from the grassroots.

"Tulungan silang makita na hindi sa kahirapan dapat matapos ang buhay, at ang wastong paggamit ng mga oportunidad, ng social welfare services, ay isang susi para sa mas maginhawang buhay," Parambita emphasized in one of her talks, her words clothed with flesh as these were backed-up by concrete actions.  (MMP/VCCL/PIA Leyte)

About the Author

Marcelo Pedalino

Regional Editor

Region 8

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