Rising from the Downfall

“Salamat po ng marami sa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program dahil isa po ito sa nakatulong sa aming Pamilya. Kahit papaano po ang aming pangarap ay unti-unti na po naming nakakamit. Salamat po sa lahat ng bumubuo ng Programa, sa DSWD at sa Poong Maykapal. Maraming salamat po”. – Jennilyn and Benigno

Jennilyn with her family

At their early age, Jennilyn Marinas and Benigno Delbarrio started a family wherein both of them were not prepared for. Benigno was pushed to be a pedicab driver earning Php200.00 if he is lucky and sometimes, Php 50.00 which is indeed not enough to suffice their daily needs. To help her husband, Jennilyn decided to enroll in TESDA by taking up cosmetology focusing on manicure and pedicure. She provided manicure services to her neighbors as her initial customers and charged only Php20.00 per service. There were times that she and her husband had a fight due to financial problem and was left with no choice but to borrow money for them to survive.

On October 17, 2007, they experienced the most hard-hit downfall when their house got burned down and lose everything they had. This mishap made them live with their relatives in Bulacan and transferred to her mother-in-law in Montalban, Rizal after a year and went back to Paranaque on the same year.

Another sad moment was during Rhapunzel’ birthday. It truly broke their hearts as parents as they were not able to provide anything for their daughter. She is the eldest among her two (2) siblings and studying in Paranaque National High School-Main as Grade 8 student. Her brother’s name is Rhaven whi is in Grade II and Raizelyn, Kinder student in San Antonio Elementary School.

To sustain the needs of their children, Benigno simultaneously worked hard for multiple jobs as construction worker, water delivery boy and tricycle driver for additional income. The ray of hope on their lives eventually happened when they became member of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2014. Since then, they were able to provide their children’s needs in school and they can now celebrate birthdays. Sacrifices were replaced by motivation and inspiration by their children’s success and achievements.

Rhapunzel holding her award

As a member of the Program, doors of opportunities opened to Rhapunzel. She was encouraged to join school, church and other community activities as a choir member. She was also given the chance to take up voice lessons. She performed during the “Grand Vocal Recital of San Isidro Children Lesson Voice Program and won awards to every competition she joined.

In 2017, she joined the gymnastic class in high school and won the Bronze Medal during the Palarong Pambansa held in NCR on February 19, 2019.

Her perseverance and passion made her decide to join to participate in the cheering squad wherein their group won 2nd Place during the National Capital Region Cheer and Dance Qualifiers. Moving to the next round, they grabbed the 1st place in the “COED Senior Chher of National Cheerleading Champion” on March 10, 2019.

Meanwhile, the younger child, Ravhen also got an award from his school during their Recognition day on March 26, 2019 as “Natatanging Mag-aaral mula 1st-4th Grading Period.” Mrs. Marinas was able to get a new job as a Free Lance Senior Hairstylist while her husband has a regular job as a messenger. All of these hardworks and detrmination resulted to another worthwhile blessing, their new house in Cavite City.

“Lahat ng tagumpay na aming natatamo ay masasabi kong tagumpay rin ng programa ng Pantawid Pamilya. Kabahagi naming ito sa pagbangon sa aming buhay,” said Jennilyn. ###

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Pagsusumikap para sa Kinabukasan

 

Si Rechel kasama ang kanyang pamilya noong siya ay Parent Leader ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

Taong 2010 nang bumaba ang mga Enumerators ng ahensiya ng Department of Social Welfare and Development sa Camarin, North Caloocan kung saan nakatira si Rechel V. Sagge at ang kanyang pamilya. Sa kabutihang-palad ay isa sila sa mga napiling maging miyembro ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program na nagdulot ng maraming pagbabago sa kanilang buhay.

Si Rechel ay biniyayaan ng tatlong anak; isang lalaki at dalawang babae. Si Pearl Joy, ang kanyang panganay na babaeng anak na dalawampu’t taong gulang ay nakapagtapos ng kursong Bachelor of Education sa Pamantasan ng Caloocan bilang isang iskolar ng Local Government Unit ng Caloocan City. Matapos grumadweyt ay nagtrabaho siya bilang guro sa isang pribadong eskwelahan.

Si Kier Joshua ang pangalawa at nag-iisang lalaking anak ni Rechel na labing-anim na taong gulang at kasalukuyang nasa Grade 12 level. Ang kanilang bunso ay si Krisha Mae, pitong taong gulang at kasalukuyang nasa Grade 2 level.

Ang kanyang asawa na si Albert Sagge ay isang tricycle driver. Ang tricycle na kanyang ginagamit sa pamamasada ay nirenta lamang at kumikita siya ng 300 pesos kada araw. Dito sila kumukuha ng kanilang pang araw-araw na gastusin.

Nagsimula si Rechel bilang isang miyembro ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Kinalaunan ay naging Parent Leader siya ng kanilang grupo. Marami siyang natutunan bilang isang Parent Leader na nakapagpabago ng kanyang buhay.

“Dati, lagi lang akong nasa bahay. Hindi ako mahilig pumunta sa mga kapitbahay namin. Hindi ako nakikipaghalubilo habang ang asawa ko ay naghahanapbuhay. Pero simula nang maging miyembro ako ng Pantawid, marunong na ako makipag-mingle sa mga tao. Lalo na noong naging Parent Leader na ako, na-realize ko na mas marami pa pala akong pwedeng magawa,” nakangiting sabi ni Rechel.

Ang kanyang natatanggap na cash grants ay ipinangtustos sa pag-aaral ng kanyang mga anak at ang natitirang pera ay ginamit nila pandagdag puhunan sa kanilang munting negosyo na manok-baboy. Ayon sa kanya, marami siyang natutunan sa mga Family Development Sessions na kanyang nagamit sa pang-araw-araw na buhay tulad ng mga paksang tungkol sa kung papaano makakatipid, Right of The Children at Women Empowerment na hanggang ngayon ay napapakinabangan niya sa kasalukuyang trabaho.

Dahil sa pagpupursige ni Rechel na makahanap ng trabaho, marami na siyang pinagdaanan maitaguyod lamang ang kanyang pamilya. Sinubukan niyang mag-apply sa DSWD at sa kabutihang-palad ay natanggap siya bilang isang job order. Matapos maging Enumerator ng DSWD noong 2015 ng tatlong buwan ay naging SWDI enumerator si Rechel ng dalawang buwan. Siya rin ay nagsilbing street facilitator ng dalawang buwan.  Maiikli man ang panahon ng kanyang naging karanasan sa mga pinagdaanang trabaho ay hindi ito naging dahilan upang siya ay sumuko. Sumubok ulit si Rechel na mag-apply sa ahensiya noong 2017. Sa umpisa ay natakot ito dahil nasa kanyang isipan na baka hindi siya tanggapin dahil sa kanyang edad. “Noon, takot akong mag-apply ulit lalo na’t may edad na ako,” sabi ni Rechel.

Ngunit sumubok pa rin ito at natanggap ito bilang Child Welfare Assistant. Ngayon ay mahigit isang taon na siyang nagtatrabaho sa ahensiya.

Ibinahagi niya ang mga pangarap niya dati na unti-unting natutupad ngayon.“Yung bahay po namin dati hindi po totally sementado, ngayon po ay nagre-renovate na po kami ng bahay.”

Pangarap din niyang mapagtapos niya ng pag-aaral ang kanyang mga anak. Unti-unting natutupad na ang mithiing ito ni Rechel dahil nakapagtapos na ng pag-aaral ang kanyang panganay na si Pearl Joy. Dadag pa nito na kung dati ay nag nagrerenta lamang ng tricycle ang kanyang asawa, ngayon ay nakabili na sila ng kanilang sariling tricycle at kumikita na ito ng 500 pesos kada araw, kumpara sa dating kita nitong 300 pesos.

Nang tanungin naman si Rechel kung ano maipapayo niya sa mga miyembro ng programa na gusto din umunlad ang buhay tulad niya, ito ang kanyang sinabi: “Wag nilang tingnan ang sarili nila na maliit. Kung kaya mag-apply o magtrabaho gawin nila kahit may edad, mag-pursige parin para hindi lang sila mag-focus sa kung ano ang kinikita nila araw-araw.”

Nagbahagi din siya ng opinyon tungkol sa programa. “Ang Programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino ay talaga namang napakalaking tulong sa mga mahihirap lalo na sa mga taong walang hanapbuhay dahil kahit papaano ay nakakatulong ang cash grants na kanilang natatanggap. Hindi lamang cash grants, pati na rin ang mga Family Development Sessions na nagbibigay ng values formation sa amin.”

Si Rechel ay isa sa mga napakagandang halimbawa ng isang miyembro ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program na kinalaban ang hamon ng buhay. Siya ay nagsisilbing modelo ng pag-asa sa mga miyembro ng programa na nangangarap na balang araw ay masisilayan ang magandang bukas.

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Finding the Hero Inside Us


Elen Hermosura Tee with her children Manuel and Emmanuel

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”- Christopher Reeve

We hear stories of heroes and how they influenced or changed history, but we don’t read in history pages the characteristic that made them heroes. The story of Eleanor Hermosura Tee, or Ate Elen as friends and neighbours call our members call her, tells the tale of someone who is the personification of selflessness – a trait that truly defines a hero.

Elen is from Solis Street in Tondo, Manila. She is the barangay-appointed Treasurer of their area and is also a small retail store owner. She is blessed with two sons: Emmanuel Glynn, 25 years old, and Manuel, 13 years old. Like any other family, Elen highly values her relationship with her children. She works hard every day to provide them with a better quality of life.

As a parent, Elen takes pride in raising both her children alone and has taken on different roles to meet their needs. Unfortunately, Elen’s marriage ended when she realized that living with her former partner did not help make their lives any easier. The death of their youngest child served as a ‘wake-up call’ from the never-ending acts of bigamy committed by her former partner. It was during this tragic event that she realized there is no way for her to be a mother and a partner at the same time if she wants a better life for her children. She decided to become the hero her children could look up to.

After her marriage fell apart, Elen felt that she was back to zero. However, it was also this time that her opportunities to become an inspiration to others began opening up. Her path to becoming a selfless leader started in 2012 when Elen was elected as the Parent Leader of the community.

She her described role as a parent leader as being a model of strength and compassion. Despite the challenges of poverty and economic limitations, it was important for Elen to sustain the morale in her community that they will survive life’s problems. As the Parent Leader, our hero embraced the responsibilities that came with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Elen was known as a formidable parent leader in their community. She was able to sustain the high level of participation of members during assemblies and puts priority in validation and keeping members compliant with the conditions of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

But becoming a Parent Leader was not a walk in the park. Elen describes the role as a parent leader to be full of challenges that transcends from personal and domestic life to relationship with members and the community. It was important for our protagonist to set an example to members on how to cope with everyday survival. Elen’s family story, while full of hardships and not-so-perfect, allowed our hero to relate to the experiences of other members and helped her to understand their pain and struggles.

Elen’s passion in making the program successful is attributed her personal style of leadership that is rooted to the way of life of her co-members. Whenever there are conflicts within the community, especially if it involves money, our hero resolves it by making other members understand the process of a mature and responsible conversation. Elen also takes time to make members understand that the cash grants are intended for the welfare and the needs of the children. After every training or meeting, Ate Elen reinforces the concepts and processes to every member, increasing their sense of accountability and responsibility. She believes that it is always important to do what is right and to always do good.

Of course, Elen’s story is more relatable and personal when there are people who attempt to discredit her capabilities. As the barangay-appointed Treasurer, people used to think Elen will mishandle the funds and will be tempted to commit acts of corruption. But Elen’s strong sense of public service made it possible to rise above criticisms and continue pursuing selfless acts, proving the allegations wrong. She emphasized that “success is not always about money”. It is this principle that gave our hero the reputation as a responsible and reliable member of the community and parent leader.

For Elen, it is not about how we make ourselves successful that count as heroism. It is how we open up ourselves to serve others. It is this story of selflessness that makes Elen, not only as a hero of their community but a living proof that heroism lives among the many people of the Pantawid Pamilya Program. This story is our story when we build communities and make relationships stronger. This story, worthy of being celebrated, is not measured by wealth, but by the number of lives that our hero has changed.

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