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Gardening Made Possible in the City

Is it possible to grow vegetables in a massive area under the scorching heat of the sun, with a poor water system? 2013 was a year of new opportunities and challenges to our Pantawid Pamilya farmers. An opportunity for them to strive harder, innovate and to discover, learn and develop their skills in farming.  In partnership with the Elsie Gaches Village, the huge area that they had, has not only been a home for the marginalized children in the Philippines but as well as to our Pantawid Pamilya farmers in Alabang. During the Cash for Work in 2013, our Pantawid Pamilya farmers seized the opportunity not only to gain extra income but also to make a difference in their community. Using their bare hands they remove all the large weeds from the barren land.  The once bushy area in the village was transformed hand in hand by our Pantawid Pamilya farmers into a land where seeds of dreams are planted. With the help of the City Link, they were able to cultured the area and for 5 years now and they have been trying their best to sustain what they had started.

Coming from the different walks of life, they had come together to work on something that they believed would give a positive impact not just for themselves and their family but also to their community. They named their group 4K or “Kapaligiran, Kalusugan, Kabuhayan para sa  Kaunlaran”. From their name itself, they aim to develop and make the world a better place to live in, using their skills in farming. By the year 2016, they decided to elect officers among them to create a better management. Certainly, a system was created within the group. Although the water system was quite a challenge, it did not stop them. As early as 4 o’clock in the morning, our Pantawid Pamilya farmers wake up early just to water their plants since at 8 o’clock in the morning the water will be turned off and be back by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. They pay the water for 45 php per month and to augment this need they decided to contribute 5 php per week and also as a way for them to save. In partnership with the Department of Agriculture they were grateful to receive seeds and seedlings like eggplant, okra, tomatoes, chili, legumes, and pechay. They also planted camote tops, saluyot, lemon grass, sweet potatoes, papaya, malunggay, cassava, among others. Moreover, they have also been active participants to the different trainings conducted by the SM Foundation and Department of Agriculture that led them to become knowledgeable in farming. They also receive containers and hose from the Local Government Unit which was very helpful for them in watering their plants.

The garden was their second home, it provided them their needs as well as a family whom they can share their sorrows and joy in life. Aside from the positive bond that they had, unity in the garden can be discerned. They do not have specific plot for a specific group but everyone owns everything. One of the farmers said, “Tulong tulong kami sa pagpapalago ng mga pananim”.  Aside from consuming their produce, which truly promotes nutrient sufficiency and food security in the family, they also peddle it in the market which adds to their family’s income.

Over the years, the garden helped them developed an attitude of camaraderie and sense of genuine care and joy among them. To this day, they continue to farm with the hope and dreams that one day they will have a better water system that would lead them to a more bountiful produce. Nonetheless, our Pantawid Pamilya famers are determined that brighter days are ahead of them and that they can boldly say that, “Yes! Planting in a huge area under the heat of the sun with poor water system is possible with unity, positive mindset and determined attitude!”

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Gulayan sa Camarin

The Gulayan sa Barangay at Barangay 174 started in May 2016. There are a total of 457 members composed of 16 parent groups involved in this endeavor. According to the members of Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program, their City Link conducted a general meeting to encourage them to have their own garden in their barangay. Because of the willingness and passion of every member to have their own communal garden, one of the members recommended a vacant lot in their house for them to cultivate and plant crops. The measurement of the said space is 200 square meters.

Since most of them are newbie in urban gardening, members encountered challenges at first due to insufficient knowledge and skills needed to start. Through their City Link’s initiative, they were able to participate on the series of trainings conducted by the Caloocan City Department of Agriculture. Aside from the trainings, the City Government of Caloocan also gave the members enough seedlings for them to start like petchay, watercress and tomatoes. Members also contributed money to buy more seedlings to plant like sponge gourd, siling haba, siling pula, bell pepper, squash, eggplant, and okra. With these efforts and a city link who continuously encourages them, members were motivated to sustain their garden.

The Gulayan sa Barangay really benefited the Pantawid members. They use it for food consumption which promotes good health within their family especially that their produce is organically grown. Whenever they are able to sell from their produce they use the money to buy more seeds. Barangay 175 set 5, 6, and 7 help another to build the garden and make it productive. They consider it as a way for them to learn new things that could help them improve their lives. Their unity in the garden shows how driven they are to do more not just for themselves but also for their family. Urban Gardening was established very well by the Pantawid Pamilya members because of their strong desire to be the agent of change in their community.

Their usual produce are tomatoes, sponge gourd, watercress, pechay, siling haba, siling pula, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, edible tips of sweet potato, squash, egg plant, onions, bitter gourd, okra, radish, lettuce, ginger, papaya, mung beans, and saluyot. There are also herbal plants and fruit crops like sambong, tanglad, oregano, serpentine, kalamansi and bayabas. Members wisely use their spaces in planting vegetables and other types of plants because they were advised by the Department of Agriculture to utilize their spaces properly so that they can sustain their garden. Having a large numbers of members is also an advantage for them in order to maximize the work force for the productivity of their garden. They are using the rice husk as an organic fertilizer. Further, there is also a system of scheduling in their garden. They have assigned person everyday to water and facilitate the garden. This helps them develop discipline and become more responsible not just in gardening but also in their personal lives in terms of time management. As a matter of fact the garden was featured by the Malacañang Press and the people were very happy about it. They felt appreciated and they were more motivated to make their produce more healthy and bountiful.

Pantawid Pamilya believes that Urban Gardening helped them in so many aspects; aside from their cash grants they also began to expose themselves in gardening. It helped them to improve themselves in terms of having time management in caring for their family, doing house chores and their responsibilities in the garden as well. As of now Barangay 174 set 5, 6, and 7 members of Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino members continue to produce their own seedlings so they can plant more. They are also planning to look for other vacant spaces that they can utilize not only for their own benefit but also for their family and the whole community. In addition, Pantawid Pamilya members involved in Urban Gardening was able to create different strategies in sustaining their garden. According to one of the parent leaders the secret in their Gulayan sa Barangay is the cooperation among them and their love in what they are doing. The garden has also become a venue for the group to bond and just be together, not only during their Family Development Sessions.

This story of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program beneficiaries shows that every member can improve their lives and not just depend on the cash grants. This also shows that everyone has the potential to learn new things and develop their skills. Urban Gardening has a good effect within the members and is a great way for every Pantawid Pamilya members to prove that they can be agents of change in their own family and community as well. This is a call for every Filipino people not only for the members that if we believed that we can make a change, it can happen. This people continue to become an inspiration to their co-members in Pantawid who continues to fight poverty and the courage to change their lives not only for themselves but for the benefit of their family and their community.

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DSWD Sanctuary Center Celebrates its 30th Founding Anniversary

DSWD Sanctuary Center (SC) celebrates its 30th Founding Anniversary on April 27, 2018 with the theme: “Tatlong Dekada ng Pagtataguyod at Paglilingkod ng may Malasakit at Pagmamahal sa mga Kababaihan ng Sanctuary Center.” This was a month long celebration commemorating the importance of Sanctuary Center as the only government residential care facility and rehabilitation center for female with improved mental condition.

The opening ceremony of the Sports Fest marks the beginning of the celebration. Four teams comprised of SC staff together with selected clients participate in various activities such as the lighting of torch, parade of colors, and cheer dance presentation. Outdoor games were also played including badminton, volleyball, sack race, walkathon and even traditional Filipino games such as agawang panyo, luksong baka and tag of war. Simple tokens were given to winning participants during the Awarding Ceremony on 20 April 2018.

On 27 April 2017, Rev. Fr. Rey Anthony Yatco officiated the Thanksgiving Mass participated by residents, staff and guests. The National Teacher’s College Psychorale on the other hand, led the Invocation and the singing of the Philippine National Anthem.

The program highlights the unveiling of new inductee for the wall of friendship wherein generous donors of the center were given recognition. Ms. Erlinda Q. Nacino, one of the donors signifies her continuous support on the operations of the center specifically on the needs of the residents.

DSWD Regional Director Vincent Andrew T. Leyson and Mr. Eric Franco C. Esmas SC Officer-In-Charge led the awarding of Plaque of Appreciation to benefactors. Certificates of Recognition were likewise given to nine (9) center staff who exemplified outstanding service and who has shown a positive and supportive attitude to their co-workers and clients. Awarding of Lakas ng Karakter for clients also took place.

An intermission number inspired by the movie “The Greatest Showman” was presented by the manageable clients as they sung “Never Enough” and “This Is Me.” Merienda Cena was served after the program.

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“Kaya Ko Na” Ang Kwento ni Gng. Shirley Bonifacio

Nasa ika-sampung taon na nang pagtulong at pagseserbisyo sa mga kababayan nating mahihirap at mga pinagkaitan ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ng Kagawaran ng Kagalingang Panlipunan at Pagpapaunlad. Higit na apat na milyong mga Pilipino sa buong bansa ang tumatanggap ng tulong mula sa programang ito. Iba’t ibang tulong ang kanilang natatanggap, gaya ng edukasyon, kalusugan at maging subsidiya sa bigas. Ngunit lahat ng ito ay hindi ibinibigay bilang “dole out” bagkus ay may mga kundisyon silang kailangang sundin.

Ngayong taon ay may mga pamilya na kusa nang  aalis sa programa sapagkat sa kanilang palagay ay napabuti na ng programa ang kanilang kalagayan. Mayroon ring mga benepisyaryo na inihahanda na para sa transisyon mula sa  pagiging “poor” tungo sa pagiging “non-poor.” Layunin ng lathalaing ito na magtampok ng mga natatanging istorya ng mga benepisyaryo na nalampasan ang mga hamon ng kahirapan. At magbigay inspirasyon sa iba pang mga benepisyaryo na mayroon din silang kakayahan na magkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan may tulong man o wala  mula sa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Naglalayon din itong pagtibayin ang katagang, “Ang Pantawid Pamliya ay tagapagpatibay ng kakayahan ng mga benepisyaryo sa pag-abot ng kanilang mga pangarap.

Mula sa pagiging isang mapagmahal na ina at isang Parent Leader, ngayon ay isa ng Social Worker Assistant sa District 1 ng Quezon City si Gng. Shirley Bonifacio. Ito ang kanyang ikinuwento sa amin matapos namin siyang makapanayam.

Ang Buhay Noon

Si Gng. Shirley Bonifacio, apatnapu’t limang taong gulang ay nakatira sa Barangay 857 Pandacan, Manila. Mayroon siyang anim na anak, sina Renz Hector, Ron Yves, Rizmel, Bien, Sigrid Joseph at Rachely Star. Mahiyain siya, hindi pala labas ng bahay at ang tanging gusto lamang ay maghanap buhay para sa pamilya. Sa dalawang dekada na pagsasama nila ng kanyang asawa naging madalas ang kanilang hindi pagkakaintindihan. Hanggang sa magdesisyon siyang tuluyan nang makipaghiwalay dito dahil hindi na nito mapigilan ang kanyang bisyo. Sinubukan niya itong ipagamot sa isang rehab ngunit hindi nagtagal ay bumalik siya sa kanyang bisyo. Mula noon ay mag isa na niyang tinaguyod ang kanyang mga anak. Bagamat mag isa  at hirap siya sa buhay, dalawa sa mga anak nito ay nakatapos na sa pag aaral. Apat

sa kanyang anak ay may asawa at sarili ng mga pamilya ngunit hindi maiwasan na sa kanya pa rin ang takbo ng mga ito kapag bilang nangangailangan. Bilang ina, hindi niya matanggihan ang mga anak dahil labis ang kanyang pagmamahal para sa kanila.

Simple lamang ang pinagmulan ni Gng. Shirley, bago makapasok sa Programa ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino ay nagtitinda siya ng mga ihaw-ihaw at almusal sa tapat ng kanilang bahay. Kwento niya, kumukuha siya ng pampuhunan sa pamamagitan ng lending kung saan lingguhan siyang binabayaran.  Araw-araw maaga siyang pumupunta sa mga palengke upang humango ng kanyang ititindang pang almusal at mga pang-ihaw. Sa pagtitinda niya kinukuha ang pang gastos at pangkain nila ng kaniyang mga anak.

Noon pa man ay may puso na sa paglilingkod si Gng. Shirley, sumubok siya sa pulitika at tumakbo bilang kagawad sa kanilang barangay ngunit sa kasamaang palad ay hindi siya nanalo. Hindi siya pinanghinaan ng loob at muling sumubok na tumakbo. Sa muli niyang pagtakbo, taong 2013 ay mapalad siyang nanalo at nabigyan ng pagkakataong maging kagawad ng barangay. Upang hindi magkaroon ng isyu sa pagiging kagawad at benepisyaryo ng programa, sinubukan niyang magbigay ng resignation letter sa kanilang Chairman, ngunit hindi pa siya pinayagan dahil mabusisi daw ang proseso nito.

Noong Benepisyaryo  ako”

Hindi niya maalala kung kalian ngunit may nakapagsabi lamang sa kanila na magpunta sa covered court ng kanilang barangay at magdala ng mga requirements. Wala siyang ideya kung para saan ang pagpapapunta sa kanila doon ngunit nagpunta pa rin siya, wala ring nagbanggit sa kanila kung para saan ang pagtitipon na iyon. Dagdag pa niya, “

Napakaraming taon nun sa court, punong puno.” Matagal ang lumipas na panahon bago niya nalamang para pala ito sa Programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino.

Taong 2013, nagsimulang makatanggap ng  buwanang tulong mula sa programa si Gng. Shirley. Tatlo sa kanyang mga anak ang nakapasok sa programa, si Bien na nasa sekundarya noon, at sina Sigrid Joseph at Rachely Star na nasa elementarya. Bukod dito, nakatanggap rin siya ng iba’t ibang pagsasanay sapagkat siya’y isang Parent Leader. Ginagamit niya ang buwanang perang natatanggap para sa pag aaral ng kanyang mga anak. Kwento niya, binibili niya ito ng mga gamit sa eskwelahan tulad ng uniform, notebook, mga proyekto at iba pa. Nagagamit din daw niya ang pera sa tuwing nagkakaroon ng field trip ang kaniyang mga anak. Isa sa pinakamalaking tulong  na natanggap niyang mula sa programa ay noong natulungan siya ng isang City Link na maipasok ang kanyang asawa sa rehab. Sa kasamaang palad, matapos ang siyam na buwan sa loob ng rehab, hindi pa rin tuluyang gumaling ang kanyang asawa dahil bumalik ito sa kanyang pagbibisyo.


Malaki na ang pinagbago ng kanilang buhay matapos silang maging kabahagi ng programa. Noong isang taon lamang ay nagdesisyon siya na kusang umalis sa programa matapos siyang matanggap bilang isang Social Welfare Assistant sa Kagawaran ng Kagalingang Panlipunan at Pagpapaunlad sa unang distrito ng Lungsod Quezon. “Masasabi ko na kaya ko nang itaguyod ang mga anak ko na ako nalang talagang mag-isa,” pagbabahagi ni Gng. Shirley. Dagdag pa niya, sapat na ang kaniyang kinikita para sa pangtustos sa pang araw-araw na gastusin nilang pamilya. Kung dati ay gusto niya na nasa loob lamang siya ng kanilang tahanan, ngayon may lakas ng loob na siyang humarap sa maraming tao. Nabanggit niya na kung noon ay pahirapan pa para kumita ng pera, ngayon kahit papaano ay may matatag na siyang pinagkakakitaan.

Hindi nagtagal ay nag iba na rin ang pananaw ng kaniyang mga anak tungkol sa programa, kung dati ay nagagalit ang mga ito dahil wala siya sa bahay o di naman kaya ay ginagabi dahil sa mga Family Development Sessions ngayon ay lubos na nilang naiintindihan ang mabuting naidudulot nito sa kanilang buong pamilya. Dagdag pa niya, kung di siya nagsumikap, baka hindi pa giginhawa ang kanilang buhay


Tanging pangarap niya ang makatapos ang kanyang mga anak na nag aaral pa. Handa siyang makipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa upang kumita ng pera, mapagtapos ang kanyang dalawang batang anak at matulungan ang kaniyang pamilya. Payo niya sa mga miyembro ng programa, na madalas din niyang banggitin tuwing may Family Development Sessions, “Huwag matakot at mahiya. Hangga’t kayang mag-apply ng trabaho sige lang huwag mawawalan ng loob.” Bago siya magpaalam sa kanyang mga kasamahang miyembro, pinayuhan niya ang mga itona gawing ispirasyon ang kanyang pinagdaanan upang mabago rin ang kanilang sitwasyon.

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Patahian ni Elizabeth

Ang Ahensya ng Kagawaran ng Kagalingang Panlipunan at Pagpapaunlad ay patuloy na nagsasagawa ng mga matatagumpay na mga kwento na patuloy na ibinabahagi ng mga nagging benepisyaryo sa ilalim ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Kami ay nalulugod na ibahagi sainyo ang ilan sa mga nagging suliranin at tagumpay ng isang pamilya, kung paanosiyanakaahon at nakaalpassapagkakatanikala ng kahirapansapamamagitan ng kanilangpagtitiyaga at tulongna ibinahagi ng Ahensya. Ang maiksing kwentong ito ay mula sa isang naging benepisyaryo na si Elizabeth Briones. Isa siya sa mga aktibong sumusuporta sa bawat gawain at proyekto ng Pantawid Pamilya.

Si Elizabeth ay isang butihing may-bahay ni Diosdado Briones na namamahala sa kanilang tahanan at may mga masunuring mga anak. Sila ay may apat (4) na mga supling na kanilang pinagtutulungang mairaos sa araw-araw upang matulungang matupad ang mga pangarap sa pamamagitan ng pagsuporta sa pag-aaral ng mga ito. Hindi naging madali ang kanilang pamumuhay. Ang kanilang tinitirhan ay kanilang inuupahan lamang at nagtitiis na magsama-sama sa maliit na espasyo.

Si “Liza” ay nangarap at patuloy pang nag susumikap na makaahon sakanilang pinagdadaanang suliranin sa kanilang buhay. Ginamit ni “Liza” ang kanyang kakayanan at natutunan sa pananahi. Ayon sakanya noong siya ay nagsisimula pa lamang sa pananahi, siya ay namimili ng tela sa divisoria at siya ay nakakagawa ng iilang piraso ng punda para sa mga unan. Kapag may nakabuo nang mga punda ito ay ibinebenta sakanilang mga kakilala at sa kapitbahay na siya nagiging paraan nila upang pagkakitaan. Sa hindi inaasahan na pagkakataon ay nagkaroon ng karamdaman ang kanyang asawa at hindi nagging madali ito sa kadahilanang mag isa niyang itinataguyod ang kanilang pamilya. Ang pagsubok na ito ay hindi nagging dahilan para tumigil ang butihing ina sa paghahanapbuhay para sakanyang pamilya.

Hanggang dumating ang araw na nagkaroon ng sariling makinasi Liza. Dito sila kumukuha ng kanilang pang araw-araw na pangangailangan at ito rin ay nagsisilbi niyang libangan at pinagtutuunan ng kaniyang oras at kung minsan ay nagiging katuwang niya ang kanyang asawa. Dahil sakanyang kakayahan ay kahit ang kanyang mga anak ay naturuan niyang manahi. May mga pagkakataon na mayroong paligsahan ang kanyang mga anak at sila mismo ang gumagawa o bumubuo ng kanilang isusuot sa programa.

Sila ngayon ay mayroon ng sariling patahian na hindi lamang nagagamit para sa pangangailangan ng kanilang pamilya bagkus ay nakatutulong rin sa iba pang mamamayan na malapit sakanila na dumaranas ng kahirapan upang magkaroon din kahit papaano ng pagkakakitaan at magkaroon din ng sariling hanap-buhay.

May mga panahon na ibinahagi ni Liza kung papaano nila dinanas na kapusin at kulangin sa pera. Nailarawan rin niya na nawalan sila ng kuryente at sa nagkataon rin naman na mayroong umikot sa kanilang lugar nakawani ng ahensya (DSWD) at sapag-aakala na simpleng pagkuha lamang ng detalye o census ang kanilang layunin na ngunit hindi niya alam na ditto magsisimula ang kanyang pag-ahon sa buhay.

Sapag-ikot ng kawani ng ahensya ay nagingdahilan kung bakit siya pinatawag sa barangay para maipagbigay alam na may makukuha siyang tulong pinansyal nagaling sa programa at pinapupunta na siya sa may Commonwealth para pumila na ng maibigay ito. Nagingisang himala ito dahil sa pagkakataon na iyon ay na momoblema at kinakailangan niya ng pera upang may maipambayad sa matrikula ng kanyang anak napanganay.

Sa pagiging miyembro ay may mga dapat silang sundin at isa narito ang pagdalosa FDS naginaganap ng isang beses sa isang buwan. Dahil sa mayroon na siyang pinapasukang trabaho, kung minsan ay hindi siya nakakadalosa FDS sakadahilan ang bawal lumiban sakany ang pinapasukang pabrika. Kung hindi man siya ang makadalo ay nagsusumikap at sinisigurado niya ang kanyang asawa o isa sa mga anak niya ang pupunta para may maging representante sakanilang pamilya.

Malaki ang na itutulong ng pagiging miyembro sa programa dahil sa naibibigay naimpormasyon at mga aral nagaling sa dinadaluhan na FDS (Family Development Session)at ang tulong pinansyal. Ngunit hindi pa rin tumigil si Elizabeth na humanap ng pagkakakitaan. Sa pagkakaroon ng karunungan nagumamit ng makina at kaalaman sa pananahi ay naghanap siya ng trabaho na magagamit niya ang kaniyang talento. Nagkaroon siya ng pagkakataon na makapagtrabaho sa isang pabrika at naging isang malaking kalamangan dahil sakaniya ng kasanayan sa pananahi. Kaya hindi lamang sila nakadepende sa tulong pinansyal nanatatanggap bagkus gumagawa pa rin ng paraan para may pagkakitaan at may maipandagdagsa pang-araw-araw nagastusin.

Maganda ang naging epekto ng programa sa kaniyang pamilya dahil ayon sakanya ay para rin silang nag-aaral. Bawat buwan ay may iba’tibang tinatalakay halimbawa na lamang patungkol sa kalamidad, pagdidisiplina sa mga anak, tinuruan kung paano ang tamangpaghawak o paggastos sa pera at sakanilang relasyon bilang mag-asawa. Sa mga itinuro sakanila ay ito ay kaniyang isinasabuhay lalo napagdating sakanilang mag-asawa. Kung may nagiging problema o hindi pagkakaintindihan ay kailanganpag-usapan, huwag na matutulog ng may samaan ng loob at huwag maglihim sa isa’tisa.

Sa tuwing may darating natulong pinansyal, iyon ang pansamantalang ipinambibili muna niya ng mga tela nagagamitin sa kaniyang pananahi. Kapag nakabenta nasiya ay ang pinagbentahan na may kasamang tubo ay ipambibiliniya ng pagkain nila ng pamilya, ipinambabayad sa kuryente at tubig, binabayaran sa eskuwelahan at ang mga kinakailangan ng mga bata mapatungkol man sa personal o sa eskuwelahan.

Ang kaniyang pangarap na gusto niyang matupad ay makatapos lahat ng kanyang mga anak at magkaroon ng sariling bahay sa probinsya. Sang ayon ay nakatapos na ang kanyang panganay na anak, nakakapag simula na sa trabaho at nakakatulong nasa knilang pamilya. At dahil sa pagsusumikap at pagtitiyaga ay nakabilinasiya ng lupa ng probinsyasa Bicol at sinisimulan na angpagpapatayo ng kanilang bahay.

Sa ngayon ay may sarili na silang pangkabuhayan, sarili niyang patahian, mayroon na siyang mga trabahador habang tumatagal ang oras at panahon na sila ay patuloy sa pagsusumikap ay nagkaroon na rin sila ng mga tapat na kaagapay at naglilingkod. Ang kanilang mganagagawang product galing sa kanilang pananahi ay kanilang dinadala at ibinebenta sa isa sa malaking bagsakan ng produkto sa maynila.

Ayon kay Ginang Elizabeth ang maipapayo naman sa kapwa benepisyaryo o naging benepisyaryo ay gastusin ng tama ang ibinibigay natulong ng programa. Huwag gumastos ng sobra at huwag gamitin para sa walang katuturan na bagay. Hangga’t kayang mag trabaho ay magsumikap dahil sa hindi lang ang programa ang tutulong sakanila, kundi pati ang sarili nila na siyang naging susi para marating nila ang kanilang pangarap para sa kanilang pamilya.



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Gemini Group Gulayan (3G’s) of Barangay Sta. Lucia

“Ito na ang libangan namin, hindi na kami tatambay-tambay,”shared by one of the members of Gemini Group. Gemini Group is composed of Pantawid Pamilya partner members that transformed the vacant lot located at Barangay Sta. Lucia, Quezon City into a productive source of fresh produce. This initiative also contributed to the community’s orderliness and cleanliness.

It was agreed that the land will be devoted mainly for planting fruits and vegetables. The produce will not only be used for consumption but also for market needs helping them cut their daily expenses. Seedlings were also provided by the barangay. Moreover, it will address malnutrition among poor families

Cooperation and camaraderie among the members along with the support coming from the barangay officials were vital factors that made this initiative possible.

Gemini is the most active group among the three (3) remaining groups on Barangay Sta. Lucia. They set tasking where all members could actively participate in monitoring and developing of the garden. They consumed and sometimes sell their harvest to the local community members or sell it to the nearest market. They spend their earnings in buying new materials which they could use on their gardening like water containers. They also do contribution whenever they thought that a certain gardening tool is needed.

There are a lot of challenges they encountered before and during their gardening. When asked about the challenges they have encountered, they said, “Madumi, makalat [yung lugar], naging mahirap yung pagliliis namin, yung pagaakyat ng tubig naging mahirap din dahil mataas itong garden, madami din nadisgrasya sa pagpuputol ng puno pero masaya.”

They gladly shared how gardening helps them. According to them, sometimes they no longer buy vegetables and instead harvest to their garden. This serves as leisure activity for them and they got their children involved as well. At present, they have seven (7) edible plants on their garden, they harvest every week and they are also planning to add more edible plants like bitter gourd (Ampalaya) and sponge gourd (Patola). They are hoping to develop their garden and look forward for the participation of other groups in the area.

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The Game Changer

I  am Shirlyn M. Rostata, a graduate of  Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Human Resource Development Management at Polytechnic University of the Philippines – and I am an ESGPPA Scholar.

The Expanded Scholarship Grant Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA) of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program helped me a lot financially. It taught me the value of time, money, and education. It taught me how to make sensible decisions in handling my personal finances in order to achieve my goals in life.

My family’s situation is not a piece of cake; there are a lot of challenges and struggles along the way. Despite of this, I had a happy childhood, my siblings and I had a very humble life growing up but still I had the best. I was born to two beautiful parents,  I am the third child of Tatay Herminio Jr., a welder and  Nanay Leah, a full time housewife. They have healthy ambitions for us and they believe in the power of good education.

The journey did not become easy but my dreams are definitely bigger than my fears. All the memories before, be it good or bad were all part of my journey. All these things adds up to who I am now. We used to live in a squatters area. We literally do not have anything before;

we miss out on family events like brithdays, Christmas and New Year because of monetary worries.

I was able to witness how my parents suffer. I used to ask God, “when will these sufferings end?”  I remember one time when my Tatay worked as a part time construction worker and he accidentally fell from a high scaffolding. Fortunately through God’s grace and continous guidance, he was able to recover the very next day. This situation made me realize two important things in life— first, that God is in control and second, everything happens for a reason.

Our eldest sister keeps on reminding us to make an effort to live normally when in a difficult situation, “Tyaga lang pasasaan ba’t giginhawa din tayo.” She is now a Software Support Engineer in a multi national company. Joan, my other sister currently works at Commission of higher Education (CHED) as a Technical Write. My younger brother on the other hand, is Computer Science student.

I consider the scholarship given to me by Pantawid Pamilya as an answered prayer. It served as an opportunity for me to get to know other students who are undergoing the same situation as mine making me realize that I was not alone in this battle. I consider my professors and co-scholars as my second family especially  to Ma’am Teves my mentor who tirelessly  motivates and guides me. These people will remain in my hearts forever.

I owe ESGPPA a debt of gratitutde for it played an important role in my journey towards success— finishing college strong and with flying colors.  To God be the Glory!

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Serbisyong May Malasakit

Ms. Rufacita Villegas is a Child Welfare Assistant of Operations Office 1 – Manila District III. She was assigned to handle the areas of Manila North Cemetery in Sta. Cruz, Manila. In January 2018, one of the MCCT-HSF Partner Member, Ms. Lourdes Pablo called her attention regarding the grantee’s grandson school behavior. As per Ms. Villegas’ validation, she found out that the monitored child had been a consistent absentee of the school facility he is monitored at Estban Abada High School in Dimasalang. The school focal shared several recorded complaints regarding the monitored child’s changes in behavior in school and his consistent non-compliance to education.

Taking the extra mile, and considering several factors, Ms. Villegas sought assistance from Ms. Ivana Kyra Maron, Child Psychologist of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. The team went to the class adviser and school guidance counselor for possible interventions, the agreement was that the school will accept the child given that the child monitored will have to do home schooling. The teacher and guidance counselor provided the monitored child with modules and requirements to be strictly monitored by the guardian, however, the child’s guardian is his grandmother and has difficulties assisting the child for his school requirements. The Child Welfare Assistant, Ms. Villegas whole heartedly committed herself in ensuring that the child meets the said agreement. Ms. Villegas religiously goes to the monitored child’s house to help him with the home modules provided; she became the tutor and teacher of the child, and even spends her weekend at the child’s place to finish all necessary requirements. After weeks of home schooling, last April 4, 2018, the monitored child was able to become part of the moving-up ceremony of the said school facility. With the help and dedication of Ms. Villegas, the monitored child was able to finish and submit all required school works through home schooling and was able to finish what seemed to be the end of the line for the child.

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