TO ensure that high school students will finish secondary education, the Department of Social Welfare and Development here (DSWD-10) has launched the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’s (4Ps) Youth Development Session (YDS) at Barangay Lapasan on Tuesday.

The YDS was pilot-tested to 30 selected 4Ps high school beneficiaries.

Out of 16,178 household beneficiaries in the city, the participating students were chosen from Lapasan National High School (NHS), Carmen NHS, Puntod NHS, and Angeles Sisters NHS in Barangay Consolacion.

Starting July until the end of the school year, YDS will be conducted in all public high schools once a month.

All 4Ps high school beneficiaries will be required to attend the sessions, said Josie Subingsing, DSWD-10 social welfare officer.

Topics that will be tackled in the session are about adolescence, learning to value themselves, personality, skills, and even responsible parenting, Tony Binalla, family development session head of DSWD central office, told Sun*Star Tuesday.

Discussions are aimed to be lively and interactive, said Subingsing.

Non-beneficiaries are also encouraged to attend since the sessions are about and for the youth.

Policarpia Magarang, assistant principal at Lapasan NHS and 4Ps coordinator in the barangay, said they sent the top 10 students in their rankings who are also beneficiaries of the program coming from second year to fourth year.

Binalla said there are three pilot testings done in the country, one for each island.

Tuesday’s session in Lapasan was simultaneous with the pilot testing in Luzon conducted in San Ramon, Sagala.

Last Saturday, Visayas also conducted their pilot program in Samar.

Kenneth Haza Sanchez, DSWD-10 regional project coordinator, said the sessions have been launched only this year because the age of beneficiaries have been expanded from 0-14 years old to 0-18 years old.

More education, more income

YDS is required to maintain the grant in order to encourage students to study, stay in school, and finish school “para makahaw-as sa kalisod (to be lifted from poverty),” said Subingsing. It is also focused on making sure that the students finish high school.

Subingsing said a study revealed that people who finish elementary education earn 10 percent more, those who finish high school, 40 percent, and those who finish college, twice more.

“We want the high school beneficiaries to have wholesome activities, to learn to value themselves,” said Binalla.

Having the sessions is also a way to keep the kids out of bad influences and even build camaraderie among co-students.

He said that students can check on one another when a classmate of theirs is absent and even help each other.

While the program is focused on ensuring that the students finish high school, Binalla said there is still no project from the government to send the student and maintaining them in college except for some scholarships.

“For now, at least they finish high school,” he said.

Jerome Humawan, DSWD-10 focal person of family development session, said the pilot testing was conducted in Barangay Lapasan because most of the participants come from the barangay’s secondary school.

Lapasan is also the pioneering barangay which received the 4Ps program at its onset.

Both Magarang and Humawan said that a great number of students, around 40 to 60 percent, enrolled at the Lapasan NHS are 4Ps grantees.

Maintaining the benefits

Aside from the required attendance in the monthly YDS, students must also maintain a grade and have at least 85 percent of the annual class attendance, said Subingsing.

Magarang, however, clarified that if the students are not able to meet the set requirements, only the student will be disqualified from the grant and not the whole family.

Family beneficiaries must also meet health requirements such as prenatal and postnatal checkups for pregnant women and immunization for the children.

The monthly educational grant given to beneficiaries is P300 for elementary students and P500 for high school students.

Health benefit given is P500 per household regardless of the number of members.

Of all of DSWD’s projects, 4Ps has the most beneficiaries, said Sanchez.

To stretch the sessions to non-beneficiaries, DSWD-10 plans to integrate the sessions to values education classes in public high schools, Sanchez told this paper.

Magarang added they will still check on the module if they will add the said session to their classes because they are currently discussing on catechism in their values education classes.