In line with the celebration of National Children’s Month, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is holding its 6th National Children’s Congress (NCC) from November 14-17, 2017 in Metro Manila.

About 88 children-beneficiaries of 4Ps representing the different provinces and Highly Urbanized Cities (HUCs) nationwide are participating in the congress including a regional representative from Zamboanga Peninsula.

This year, a 13-year old exemplary Pantawid child hailing from the municipality of Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur, Jhonn Rey L. Wayco, represents region IX for the national search for Exemplary Pantawid Children 2017 as part of the highlights of the congress.

Wayco was named as the regional champion for Exemplary Pantawid Children in Zamboanga Peninsula last July in which he bested 3 other provincial contenders representing Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte, and the cluster of Zamboanga/Isabela City namely Krizle Joy Corpuz, Mary Maica Nicole Elnasin and RJ Somosa, respectively, who are also participants of the NCC.

For the past five years, the NCC has served as a venue to promote the spirit of patriotism among children and the youth by encouraging their involvement in nation building.

Through the NCC, participants identify pressing issues which they believe affect them, and they then provide policy recommendations on the same

“The children of today are more aware of issues that deeply concern them and affect their well-being. They are capable of engaging in actions and deliberations that lead to productive measures that aim to elevate the status of children in society. The recommendations the children will make will serve as valuable input which we will consider as we make more efforts to improve the programs and services of the 4Ps program and the Department itself,” said DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco.

In 2013, the results of the NCC led to the expansion of the program; one of the recommendations was for the 4Ps program to cover children up until they finish high school or reach the age of 18, whichever comes first. The original design of the program covered only children aged 14 and below.

With this year’s theme, “Mangarap Ka, Batang Pilipino”, the NCC hopes to incite inspiration for Filipino children to continue dreaming despite challenges they face in their respective families, communities, and in Philippine society as a whole.

“My dream is to become a lawyer someday. It may sound cliché but I want to prove to the people that justice is very much alive and there are people willing to serve in the name of fairness and equality. I want to be the voice of those who cannot speak, of the oppressed, and of those who cannot fight in fear of not being heard. I want to bring back the faith in the hearts of the people –the faith in humanity,” Wayco said in an interview.

Several personality-development workshops were prepared for the participants to help them as they explore their dreams for themselves, their family and the community, in general.

“Children from poor families are confronted with so many problems such as violence in the home and they are vulnerable to different forms of abuse. To help children overcome these challenges, the government and its agencies such as the DSWD exert effort to make support mechanisms and programs available to them. Our hope is to strengthen the spirit and will of children from poor families and marginalized sectors so that they can be empowered to fight for their dreams and one day realize them. We need to do all that we can to help Filipino children overcome the challenges of poverty so they can one day own their future roles as productive members of their communities and contribute to a better nation,” OIC Leyco concluded.

From left: Pitogo Municipal Link Vanessa Arbuiz, Maica Elnasin (Zambo del Norte), Krizle Joy Corpuz (Zambo Sibugay), Reynald Baguio (last year’s national champion for Exemplary Children from Dipolog, ZDN), Dipolo City Link Nimfa Tejero, RJ Somosa (Zamboanga City) and this year’s Region IX Exemplary Pantawid Child Jhonn Rey Wayco

The children-beneficiaries of 4Ps together with their City/Municipal Links and Pantawid Information Officers
during the pre-workshop activity of NCC

Last year’s national champion for Exemplary Pantawid Children, Reynald Baguio, and this year’s regional representative for the National Search for Exemplary Pantawid Children, Jhonn Rey Wayco, in a casual talk before their flight to Manila.