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 the 7th National Children’s Congress (NCC) from November 26-December 02, 2018 in San Juan City, Manila.

About 85 children-beneficiaries of 4Ps representing the different provinces and cities in the country are participating in the congress including regional representatives from Zamboanga Peninsula.

The theme for this year is “Bata, Magkaisa Tungo sa Bayang Mapagkalinga”, focusing on children beneficiaries defining a “safe space” for children in the community. This is in line with the CWC’s (Council for the Welfare of Children) theme, “Isulong: Tamang Pag-aaruga para sa Lahat ng Bata” with a call on children’s participation and unity by using the word magkaisa, and widening our perspective on tamang pag-aaruga through incorporating bayang mapagkalinga.

The NCC is programmed to develop and strengthen positive values amongst the children and youth through personality-development workshops in partnership with Stairway Foundation and Make Believe Foundation. The congress will also be conducted along with the national search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children 2018.

A 15-year old exemplary Pantawid child from the municipality of Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte, Jane Marian R. Alberastine, is representing region IX along with two other exemplary children from Zamboanga del Sur (Lovely Cris E. Cagas) and Zamboanga City (Angeline M. Esteban).

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

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 culmination of the congress which is dubbed as “Araw ng Kabataan” will happen on December 01 at SM North EDSA Skydome.

Pantawid Pamilya is a social protection program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households primarily of children aged 0-18 and pregnant women. Program beneficiaries receive cash grants as they comply with the program conditions applicable to their households. The conditions are: pregnant women must avail pre and post-natal care and be attended during childbirth by a trained health professional; parents must attend Family Development Sessions (FDS); 0-5 years old children must receive regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines; 6-14 years old children must receive deworming pills twice a year; and children beneficiaries (0-18 years old) must enroll in school and maintain a class attendance of at least 85% per month. As of May 2018, there are 4.39 million active households in the program nationwide.

Delegates from Region IX: (from left) Lovely Cris E. Cagas from Zambo del Sur, Angeline M. Esteban from Zamboanga City, and Jane Marian R. Alberastine from Zambo del Norte

Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya children from various cities and municipalities
during their first activity in the NCC 2018