Cordillera Administrative Region – Even if they are highly in need because of the health crisis brought by the Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development here have shown honesty and empathy by returning the double cash assistance received from the Government’s emergency subsidy programs.
Vilma, Jocelyn, and Maureen are just some of the beneficiaries from Baguio City who willingly returned the 5,000 cash assistance received under the COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). While Imelda, also from Baguio City willingly returned the 4,150 received under the second tranche of 4Ps-Social Amelioration Program.
“Noong nalaman ko ang tungkol sa polisiya ng Social Amelioration Program (SAP), minabuti kong ibalik ang natanggap ko mula sa DOLE dahil nakatanggap na kaming [mga 4Ps] beneficiaries ng 4,150 (When I learned about the SAP guidelines, I immediately returned the cash to DOLE because we [4Ps beneficiaries] have already received the 4,150 emergency cash assistance),” Vilma Millamina shared.
Before the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine, Vilma, 42, is a maintenance crew in a restaurant in the City earning 5,600 monthly while her husband, Perfecto, is an on-call construction worker.
A family of six, Vilma admits that her family are really short of their needs, and that the pandemic has posed risk to them especially on their health and finances. According to her, she is just grateful that they became stronger as a family from the learnings she sifted from the program’s monthly family development session. Vilma’s family is one of the determined households in the City with a consistent compliance to the program conditions.
Meanwhile, Imelda Sibayan, 58, and Jocelyn Colingan, 22, both shared that even though the pandemic gravely affected their source of living, the situation did not hinder them from doing good as they still stand on to their principle, ‘honesty is the best policy.’
Imelda, a mother of five, is an on-call dishwasher while her husband is a farmer-laborer. Imelda confessed that her family is financially challenged but they assured that they consistently comply with the conditions of the program.
Jocelyn, on the other hand, is a solo parent and a former grantee of the Pantawid Pamilya but still living with her parents. She divulged that she badly needs the assistance, however, her mother already received the emergency subsidy from being a program beneficiary, so she willingly returned the assistance to DOLE.
Moreover, Maureen Kiloyen, 42, shared that she never hesitated to return the cash assistance to DOLE because she knew at first that they are not allowed to receive double subsidy during the pandemic. Maureen was a maintenance staff in a non-government organization in the City, but the company was forcedly closed due to pandemic. Hence, her employer applied her as recipient of the CAMP.
“Idi binagaan dakami ti DOLE nga addan diyay subsidy ti CAMP, saan ko nga napan inala ta ammuk nga bawal nga agawat kami iti duwa ta naala min diyay SAP me nga 4Ps. Idi pinalagipandak ti DSWD staff, napan kon inala idi May 12 ket inderitsok nga insubli ijay DOLE (When DOLE notified us that we are aligible for the emergency subsidy ti CAMP, I did not get the cash from the servicing bank because I knew that it is prohibited for us beneficiaries to receive double subsidy. So when DSWD staff reminded me about that, I went to the servicing bank to claim the amount and I directly returned it to DOLE),” Maureen said.
While Maureen’s family struggles financially, she attributes the value of honesty and responsibility learned from the program’s monthly family development sessions.
Vilma admitted that, at first, she felt bad when she knew that they are prohibited to receive double emergency cash subsidy. But she later realized that many families are also affected so she voluntarily returned the cash to DOLE.
“Alam ko rin na madaming mga pamilya ang apektado at nangangailangan ng ayuda dahil sa krisis (I also know that many families are affected and they also badly need assistance because of the crisis),” Vilma empathized.
In addition, Jocelyn expressed that even though she is a displaced worker now, she believes that the 5,000 pesos she returned could go a long way especially for those gravely affected families.
Imelda and Maureen shared the same sentiment as they hoped that the cash assistance would benefit the eligible families.
Vilma, Maureen, Imelda, and Jocelyn are just some of the embodiments of the program beneficiaries who continue to mirror the value of kind-heartedness, honesty, and empathy as responsible members of the community. Their good deeds are worth emulating as they amplify the true spirit of malasakit in their own little ways. ### DSWD-CAR, Social Marketing Unit, Marlo C. Abyado, Jr., Pantawid Information Officer with reports from Baguio City Operations Office.