sec soliman_2015 02The Parent Leaders’ Dialogue with DSWD Secretary ‘Dinky’ Soliman recently held in Urdaneta City was filled with stories of change from simple men and women representing 216,395 registered Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Region 1, now bearers of enhanced values, assertiveness, and active partnership in the local communities.

Stories of change confirm that Pantawid Pamilya empowers. Magnolia Robina of Urdaneta City said her husband now considers her in decision-making because of the lessons got from the Program. “We did not only improve physically but also grew stronger emotionally and now talk with sense,” said Amalia Lopez of Labrador, Pangasinan.

Buko juice and peanut vendor Gilbert Ramos of San Fernando City, La Union increased his participation in community activities such as Magsidalus iti Arubayan (Clean and Green Project) and Barangay Development Strategy planning. With these, his confidence and good grooming were enhanced.

The Program augments income of poor families like solo parent Ma. Shirley Sarmiento of San Fabian, Pangasinan whose children are also recipients of Enhanced Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation and TESDA training. More importantly, she was recognized as main spokesperson to 138 Parent Leaders and all barangay captains in San Fabian, Pangasinan.

The testimonies were recognized by Secretary Soliman as they secure continuity of positive changes among them and in their communities. “Susi ang inyong pagkilos, pagsisikap, sariling pagtulong sa bawat isa, pamilya, at komunidad (The key to change has been your actions, hardwork, and initiative to help each other, family, and community),” Secretary Soliman mentioned.

On some negative comments and publicities criticizing the program, Secretary Soliman exhorted that the best defense are the changes in the beneficiaries themselves. Emphasizing further, “Ang nagdadala ng pagbabago ay kayo. Ipagmalaki ninyo at panindigan ang pagbabago at matutuloy ang pagbabago (You are the bearer of change. Be proud and stand by that change, and this change shall continue),” Secretary Soliman said.

On the guarantee of the Program’s continuity, the Secretary replied by saying, “Ang garantiya ay kayo (The beneficiaries’ changed lives guarantee the Program’s stability).”

During the forum, the Secretary mentioned that Parent Leaders could join the second round of household assessment since they are familiar with fellow beneficiaries and other deemed non-poor families. On mentioned grievances, the Secretary assured the immediate action by the program people. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Information Officer II)