Some 31 Zamboangueño beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) were hired on the spot in a job fair organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office-9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) at the Camino Nuevo Covered Court in Zamboanga City last July 5.

“As directed by DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, we have to keep on making significant upgrades to ensure that 4Ps beneficiaries can sustain their self-sufficiency level and not slide back to poverty once they graduate or exit from the program,” Asst. Secretary Irene Dumlao, who is also the DSWD spokesperson, said on Wednesday (July 10).

Dubbed as ‘4Ps Trabaho Caravan’, the job expo offered some 700 job vacancies exclusively for the beneficiaries of 4Ps.

The job fair was conducted in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the City Government of Zamboanga through its Public Employment Service Office (PESO).

“This activity was conducted during the 4Ps Social Investment Forum (SIF) which convened private companies and civil society organizations (CSO) to identify possible interventions that could help the 4Ps families in reaching self-sufficiency level,” the DSWD spokesperson said.

Among the companies that offered employment opportunities were Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc.; SM City Mindpro; Budgetwise; Cecile’s Pharmacy and Convenience Store; Greathands Services Cooperative; Permex Producer and Exporter Corporation; Dennis Hardware Enterprises, Inc.; Emcor Inc.; Airtalk Mobile Zamboanga; KCC Mall de Zamboanga; Jolly Management Solutions, Inc.; Image Interior Inc., and Kids Who Farm.

Christine Jay Ecot, 23, a fresh graduate of Bachelor of Science in Fisheries, is one of the former 4Ps beneficiaries and monitored children, who landed a job during the employment recruitment activity.

Christine’s father earns a living from driving a ‘kuliglig’ (side car). According to Christine, the 4Ps program of the DSWD serves as her father’s partner in ensuring that they, his children, receive proper education, good nutrition, and health, especially after her mother passed away last year.

“Kailangan kong galingan ngayon. Hindi lang para sa akin kundi para sa pamilya ko,” Christine said. (I need to do my best not just for me but for my family as well.)

Christine added: “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.)

As a fresh grad, the employment facilitation gave Christine not only the experience of going through a hiring process but more importantly, knowing how it is to be empowered and hopeful for having the means to finally start breaking the cycle of poverty in their family.

The 4Ps is the poverty alleviation program of the DSWD that aims to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by investing in human capital. The program provides cash grants to improve their health, nutrition, and education, particularly for those 0-18 years old.

As of May 31, there are 4.3 million household-beneficiaries nationwide that are receiving conditional cash grants under the program. #