Teach them how to fish—solon
The Department of Social Welfare and Development is prodded to include in the coverage of its conditional cash transfer, more popularly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, the grant of college scholarship and not just universal primary education.
Making the proposal is Nueva Ecija Rep. Magnolia Rosa Antonino who on Sunday said the “government must not only give fish but must teach the citizens how to fish.”
Education is the best “antidote” to extreme poverty, Antonino added.
She authored House Bill 1494 designed to expand the coverage by providing government scholarship grant to the 4Ps beneficiaries and appropriating funds therefor.
According to Antonino, the House committee on poverty alleviation, chaired by Camarines Sur Rep. Salvio Fortuno has already approved the measure and endorsed it for approval.
HB 1494 or the 4Ps Government Scholarship Grant for University and Technical-Vocational Education Act aims to expand the coverage of the CCT program through the provision of a college scholarship program to high school graduates of the program.
Under the proposal, the coverage expansion could only allow at least one family member graduate from college or technical-vocational institution.
A P300-million initial budget must be allocated to the Commission on Higher Education.
“Certainly, this will help open windows of opportunities to land a better paying job upon entering the labor force and eventually alleviate their plight or improve their standard of living,” Antonino said.
The 4Ps covers 79 provinces, 1,261 towns and 138 key cities of four million beneficiaries as of May 2013.
It is expected to reach 5.2 million this year.
According to Antonino, the CCT program is a human development program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households, particularly children aged zero to 14.
“It is sad to note however that while the program is intended to break the intergenerational poverty cycle -- that we are poor because we have no education, we have no education because we are poor -- it will not achieve its purpose for the reason that educational assistance covers only up to universal primary education,” she raised.
The bill provides that a qualified beneficiary shall be entitled to a tuition supplement of at least P5,000 per semester.
“The right of qualified beneficiaries to avail the benefits under the proposed Act shall be subject to the following terms and conditions: (a) If he fails for one (1) school year in the majority of the academic subjects he has enrolled during the course of his study unless such failure is due to some valid reason beyond his control; and (b) If he enrolls for the first time, or transfers outside of the region where he is residing unless the course is a priority course as determined by the ChEd and is not offered in any private school in one’s region.”