ZAMBOANGA CITY—When she woke up this morning, she was unemployed with only a meagre amount in her wallet. She had nothing but faith on her side and the determination to make this day a productive one.

Christine Jay B. Ecot, 23, from Tumaga Porcentro, Zamboanga City rose up early today to prep for job hunting. She readied some 2×2 photos to attach to her resumé and had her documents photocopied. She rehearsed her answers to what she assumed the potential employers might ask.

As she walked on the pavement of Barangay Camino Nuevo where the 4Ps Trabaho Caravan will be held, glimpse and images of her younger sibling and her hardworking father kept flashing in her mind.

“Kailangan kong galingan ngayon. Hindi lang para sa akin kundi para sa pamilya ko. (I need to do my best not just for me but for my family as well),” Christine repeatedly told herself as she got in the venue of the job fair event.

Christine’s father earns a living from driving a kuliglig (side car) which could barely provide their daily needs. The 4Ps program of the DSWD serves as his partner in ensuring that his children receive proper education, good nutrition, and health. His wife passed away last year due to an unknown disease.

Prior to today, the City Link, Sheena Bazan, who looks after the welfare of Ecot family, discussed with them the opportunity that was presented to them by the 4Ps Trabaho Caravan. This activity is a project of the Social Investment Forum (SIF) which convenes private companies/organizations and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) to identify possible interventions to help the 4Ps families reach Self-Sufficiency level. Bazan convinced the family that Christine should come and apply for an available position. With her background and educational achievement, Bazan is certain that Christine has a huge chance to get employed even if she is a fresh graduate of BS Fisheries.

More than 700 jobs await the 4Ps beneficiaries. The 4Ps Trabaho Caravan is an exclusive jobs fair intended to cater only to 4Ps beneficiaries in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment, Public Employment Service Office, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

“It is a first in the region as far as our Department is concerned to conduct a 4Ps-exclusive jobs fair. There are plenty of opportunities here and our partners are very generous enough to offer these opportunities to our beneficiaries”, DSWD-9 Regional Director Riduan P. Hadjimuddin said.

Some of the companies participated include Budgetwise, Cecile’s Pharmacy and Convenience Store, Greathands Services Cooperative, Permex Producer and Exporter Corporation, Dennis Hardware Enterprises, Inc., Emcor Inc., Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc., Airtalk Mobile Zamboanga, KCC Mall de Zamboanga, Jolly Management Solutions, Inc., image Interior Inc., SM City Mindpro, and Kids Who Farm.

Christine is one of the hundreds of 4Ps beneficiaries, grantees, and graduates who tried her luck in the hopes of getting employed through this employment facilitation by the DSWD. Mercifully, her prayers were heard because she is the first among all the applicants to get hired on the spot.

“Masayang-masaya ako na may ganitong activity ang 4Ps. Ang laking tulong po talaga ng Pantawid lalo na po sa aming mga fresh graduate. (I am very happy that the 4Ps came up with this activity. 4Ps helps tremendously especially for us, fresh graduates),” Christine said.

Christine is a product of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and she graduated from college just last May 24, 2024. As a fresh grad, this employment facilitation gave her not only the experience of going through a hiring process but more importantly an empowerment, hope, and a means of escape to finally start breaking the cycle of poverty in their family.

30 more other beneficiaries were hired on the spot in today’s 4Ps Trabaho Caravan. The DSWD plans to conduct the same activity in other provinces of Zamboanga Peninsula.