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In Nostalgia (A Story of Convergence)

It was barely four months ago but the picturesque scenario on that red-letter day is still vivid in my mind. People from all walks of life — leaders, workers, teachers, students—all flocked in the Greyhounds Gymnasium, University of Cagayan Valley, to participate and witness the DSWD Field Office 02’s Convergence Caravan.

It was a sunny 17th day of December, Monday, when staff of DSWD and other national government agencies exchanged the day’s regular workload and amalgamated efforts to provide efficient social services for equally significant clientele.

Partners even from different sectors even showed up for the event. There were legislators, local chief executives, media and representatives from various academic institutions and civil society organizations.

Yet, one group of crowd stood out from the rest—the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya from all corners of the region travelled mountains and crossed rivers for the festivity. Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, and Nueva Vizcaya. The beneficiaries did not encounter problems in transportation anyhow because their respective local government unit unselfishly provided logistic support.

I remember how astonished was I when I saw the beneficiaries from Quirino riding in a deluxe and air conditioned bus. Some even exclaimed “Bongga naman ang mga taga-Quirino at naka-aircondition bus pa sila.”

Yes. The Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries were the stars during that day. Adults and children, men and women, they showcased their talents which left the audience in much amazement.

Group of mother beneficiaries from the four provinces strutted their stuffs and grooved their bodies while chanting an entertaining medley of songs in the Jingle Making Contest.

Also, Pantawid children both in elementary and high school exhibited their intellectual perspicacity and art prowess for the Essay Writing Contest and Poster Making Contest. The children highlighted on the valuable contribution of the Pantawid Pamilya in the health and education of poor Filipino children aged 0-14 years old.

Kate Hyacinth Ubina, of Cagayan, who bagged the 1st place in Essay Writing Contest for High School category wrote in her winning piece: “Ang Pantawid Pamilya ay parang isang pakpak at kaming mga kabataan ang paru-paro. Tinutulungan at ginagabayan kami ng Pantawid para maabot an gaming matatayog na pangarap.”

Some beneficiaries also gave their testimonies regarding the impacts of the program in their lives. They said that the program, aside from the assistance it gives on the health and education needs of their children, have taught them to be more responsible parents. Thanks to the Family Development Sessions.

Even private enterprises also unselfishly took part in the activity’s success. PLDT, a telecom company, provided free phone calls so that beneficiaries can contact their loved ones even just for a while; and Mc Donalds who put laughters in the faces of the children. Pantawid children also enjoyed stomping, shaking and dancing with the food chain’s mascots namely Grimace and Birdie.

What’s even more remarkable is when all the directors of the national government agencies took the stage with then FO2 director Arnel B. Garcia and held hands while swaying and singing to the song “Hawak Kamay.”

The different regional lined agencies have strengthened their vows to continue with the delivery of dedicated and efficient social services especially to the vulnerable sectors of the society. To the poor. To the disadvantaged. To the underprivileged.

“Hawak kamay, ‘di kita iiwan sa paglakbay, sa mundo ng kawalan. Hawak kamay.” And everybody also joined hands. During that momentous day, the spirit of Convergence lives in everyone’s soul.

Yes. It was barely four months ago but the picturesque scenario on that red-letter day is still vivid in my mind.

It was almost four months ago but every individual present during that day have committed himself to be an instrument in uplifting the lives of the marginalized sector. And the spirit of Convergence continues to ignite within one’s soul. ### By MARICEL B. ASEJO, Pantawid Information Officer II

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Four Pantawid Children graduate as Valedictorian, Salutatorian

In photo: Carey Joy Uy, in white sweater, was the Regional Representative for the National Children’s Congress last year with the other exemplary Pantawid children from other regions. Photo by Maricel B. Asejo, Pantawid IO

STA. MARIA, Isabela– Four children beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in this municipality topped their class for SY 2012-2013 and graduated as Valedictorian and Salutatorian respectively.

Clarissa Mae Rodriguez and Carey Joy Uy of San Isidro Elementary School graduated as Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Other honor graduates are Liezel Romero, Valedictorian of Calamagui Elementary School; and Ariza Alingod, Salutatorian of Lingaling Elementary School.

According to their Municipal Link, Ms. Jackie Lou Garcia, the four children are very happy for finishing at the top of their class. “Masayang-masaya ang mga bata, lalo na sa kabila ng kahirapan ay napagbubuti nila ang pag-aaral nila. Graduating as a honor student motivate them to do better in high school. They know that education is the way for them to rise from poverty,” Garcia said.

Ms. Garcia also added that the four children are very thankful for the Pantawid Pamilya because the program helped a lot especially in their needs in school. Aside from the augmentation for their education requirements, the program also helped them have a healthy body because of the regular visits to health centers.

Aside from the Academic Awards, Clarissa Mae also received the Journalist of the Year and Athlete of the Year; while Carey Joy got the Girl Scout of the Year and the Leadership Award. Liezel and Ariza were also awarded other special citations and recognitions.

Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Child

Carey Joy Uy, who graduated as Salutatorian, was also hailed as the Provincial Representative of Isabela for the Search for Regional Exemplary Pantawid Children.

Carey Joy together with the other exemplary Pantawid children from the Cagayan, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya joined in the National Children’s Congress at Bayview Park Hotel, Manila on October 28- 31, 2012.

Aside from having grades of flying colors, Carey was also a student writer and the President of the Student Council. She is also active on extra-curricular activities and was a regular delegate of her school to quiz bees and academic competitions.

Poverty is Never a Hindrance

Despite some financial constraints, the four honor graduates are determined to finish their studies. They believe that poverty will not hinder them to attain their aspirations. With hardwork, dedication, support from families and faith in the Divine Creator, these smart children are on their way to a better life.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development program implemented by the DSWD that invests in the health and education of poor children age 0-14 years old. ### By MARICEL B. ASEJO/ Pantawid Information Officer II


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