“Save Before You Spend:” 4Ps Member Learns Financial Literacy

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps is the flagship poverty alleviation initiative of the government. Carried out by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), it provides cash assistance and other benefits for member-families.

Among these members is the Agsawal family. The mother, Cristine, attends Family Development Sessions (FDS) as part of the program. One of the things she learned was financial management, including the tried and tested habit, “save before you spend.”

4Ps Member Learns Financial Literacy
Image Credit: car.dwsd.gov.ph

4Ps Member Learns How to Manage Money

Cristine come from Barangay Umalbong, a remote area of Hingyon, Ifugao. A press release by DSWD – Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) recently shared about her family’s experience with 4Ps.

At 22 years old, Cristine met her husband, Sandy, a farmer-laborer. Today, they are blessed with four children: Blessy Pear, who is now in Grade 11; Hanz Ysrael, a Grade 7 student; Zuriel and Ezreal, who are elementary school students. Cristine and Sandy consider their children as their inspiration and source of strength.

While Sandy toils on their small farm, Cristine works as a street vendor and accepts various on-call labor works to help support their family. Financially, they struggled to make ends meet. However, this did not stop them from sending their children to school, because they believe that education is necessary and important.

Due to financial scarcity, there were times when the children would go to school without allowance. Fortunately, a government program came along and changed their lives.

Becoming a Member of 4Ps

In 2011, the Agsawal family became a beneficiary of the 4Ps program. It was a great opportunity that transformed their lives.

“We were happy and grateful when we became a 4Ps beneficiary. We promised back then that we will work hard and value the blessing that we received,” Cristine said in her vernacular language.

After Cristine attended the orientation about the 4Ps conditions and their responsibilities as a beneficiary, she immediately accepted and committed herself to the program. She also discussed with her husband about their responsibilities as 4Ps members.

Learning How to Budget

As mentioned earlier, the 4Ps program includes Family Development Sessions (FDS), where members learn about different topics such as parenting, household management, and financial management.

“Budgeting is important for our future needs,” Cristine shared. “I learned this from our FDS. Whenever we receive our grants, I always set aside 300-500 pesos for the savings of my children.”

According to Cristine, the small amount that she sets aside every payout is intended for her kids’ education and the health-related needs of their family. As a spender, she has also become thriftier, always reminding her children to prioritize “needs over wants.”

Notably, Cristine shared that she has saved more than PHP 50,000 from their farm labor works and cash grants. This may not seem like much for others, but she believes that when small things are brought together, it could become bigger things someday.

In the future, Cristine aims to put up her own sari-sari store as a source of additional income. Moreover, she urges her fellow 4Ps beneficiaries to develop the habit of “save now, spend later.”

Changing the Family and Community

Other than financial literacy, the Family Development Sessions (FDS) that Cristine attends also focus on responsible management, proper care management of children, understanding their rights in the community, and other important topics.

As a result, Crsitine has become an active member of their local community. She is part of different organizations, such as the women’s organization and lending cooperatives. Together with her fellow beneficiaries, they are planning to put up a “Gulayan sa Barangay” (community vegetable garden) that would serve as an additional source of food and income.

Assessing the Family’s Living Condition

Cristine’s family has been a member of 4Ps for 13 years now. They have consistently complied with the program’s conditions, including the children’s attendance to school, regular visits to the health center, and attendance to monthly FDS.

However, upon assessment by the Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI) — a tool used to evaluate the 4Ps beneficiary’s living condition — the Agsawal family is currently on Level II or “Subsistence.” This means theat the family is not yet ready to “graduate” or exit from the program, because they do not have a regular source of income to meet their daily needs.

At this point, Cristine’s family remains under monitoring. They will continue to receive cash aid, provided that they comply with the program’s requirements for the children’s education, health, and attendance to monthly Family Development Sessions.

Cristine admits that her family still has a long way to go, but they are determined to attain a good and stable life — through hard work, thriftiness, and a strong family foundation.

“I hope that someday we can live a more comfortable and contented life,” she shared in their local language. “My wish is for my children to finish their studies and for them to have a stable job in the future.”

About the 4Ps Program

As you may recall, the 4Ps program caters to “the poorest of the poor” in the Philippines, specifically those with children ages 0 to 18 years old. Through the provision of conditional cash transfers, the program seeks to enhance the health, education, and economic conditions of its member households.

Here’s a list of what member families receive regularly:

  • Educational assistance grant, given monthly for 10 months (PHP 300 a month for each day-care and elementary student, PHP 500 per month for junior high school students, and PHP 700 a month for senior high school students);
  • Health assistance grant worth PHP 750 a month for each household;
  • Rice subsidy amounting to PHP 600;
  • Automatic insurance coverage under PhilHealth; and
  • Priority in projects such as the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) and other government initiatives.

Cash grants are typically issued to 4Ps members through LandBank ATM cards. Check out this list of LandBank servicing branches where 4Ps member can receive their payouts. In case LandBank is not viable in an area, alternative methods such as Gcash or rural bank transactions are made.

Final Thoughts

As Cristine Agsawal said, her family still has a long way to go, but they are definitely getting there! As long as they continue participating in the program and meeting its conditions, they are bound to achieve their most cherished plans and dreams!

Speaking of 4Ps, here’s a success story that you should read. It’s about a member family from Camiguin that has “graduated” from the program. Read, and be inspired!