Mark Lovel Bedona, 11, of Bugasong, Antique, and a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program has expressed how thankful he is for being a recipient of the program
Pantawid Pamilya has paved the way for Mark to experience new things, such as riding an airplane, going to a mall, and riding in an air-conditioned vehicle
More than that, he earned the admiration of his schoolmates, teachers, and townmates when he won the 2014 Regional Search for Exemplary Child of Pantawid Pamilya.
A pupil of Lacayon Elementary School, Mark represented the Westerm Visayas Region in the National Children’s Congress (NCC) in Manila along with other regional winners in the country last year.
“I strive to be a good model as a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya. I am running for the top spot in the class this year,” said Mark, son of Merlyn, a solo parent.
Being last year’s regional winner, he was given the special treatment as guest of honor during the 2015 Regional Search for Exemplary Child of Pantawid Pamilya at the Harbor Town Hotel in Iloilo City to provide inspiration to other exemplary children who vied for the title.
“Simple lang ang akon handum. Ini ang makatapos kang akon pagtu-on kag mangin bantog nga arketekto (I have a simple dream. I want to finish my studies and be a known architect),” he said.
Mark won the hearts of the Ilonggos when he advocated for the protection of the environment during last year’s search.
“I will plant trees and I will not throw plastic products in my surroundings,” he said in Kinaray-a local dialect, when asked about how he could help save the environment.
Mark has been on top of his class since kindergarten. He also earned awards as best in writing, math, reading, and, spelling. He is only on his fifth grade but displays prowess in painting.
When asked how he could change their present life as a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, the young Antiqueno answered, “I will study hard so that I will find a good job. That way, I could change our lives,” he said.
Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for checkups, and attending the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS).
To date, around 4.4 million households continue to reap the benefits of the program.
As part of the nation’s celebration of Children’s Month every year, the National Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children, carrying the tagline, “Kaya Ko ang Pagbabago,” is part of the National Children’s Congress that aims to emphasize the importance of the role of the child within the Filipino family and in nation-building.
The search will also identify a pool of children advocates who will talk about their experiences as program beneficiaries.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman said, “Through Pantawid, children-beneficiaries are able to stay in school. The program also keeps them healthy since regular check-ups in health centers are included among the conditions that beneficiaries have to comply with.”
“Children like Mark have experienced positive changes in their lives which motivate them to strive hard to finish their studies”, Sec. Soliman emphasized.
The annual search encourages children to become responsible not only in complying with the conditions and the ideals of the program but more so in becoming outstanding citizens who will be emulated by children and even adults. ###