Archive | January 26th, 2018

Pantawid Pamilya Marinduque nagbigay-handog sa mga estudyante ng Tambunan Elementary School


Boac, Marinduque – Namahagi ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ng Marinduque ng mga bagong tsinelas mula sa Yakult Employees Credit Cooperative sa tulong ni Atty. Paul Malapote sa 64 monitored na bata ng programa sa Tambunan Elementary School sa Boac, Marinduque noong Enero 22, 2018.

Layunin ng inisyatibong ito na magbigay-saya sa mga bata na pumapasok sa eskwelahan ng walang sapatos o tsinelas kahit na laging maputik sa lugar at mahirap ang daanan.

Sa inisyatibo nina Municipal Link Marja Fababaer, Social Welfare Assistant Aldin Pineda, at Provincial Grievance/Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Tin Paras, nakipag-ugnayan sila sa punung-guro ng eskwelahan na si OIC Cleobilly J. Valentino upang maisakatuparan ang pagbibigay-handog sa mga batang ito. ###


Photos grabbed from Pantawid Marinduque FB Page


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Ulirang Parent Leader: A Woman of Action and Compassion  

Norma L. Somodio of Bansud, Oriental Mindoro is the firat Ulirang Parent Leader of Pantawid Pamilya MIMAROPA

The Anticipated Encounter

It was a sunny afternoon that day but overlooking the mountain we were heading to, dark clouds were forming, signaling a rain. We rode a tricycle from the Municipal Hall of Bansud to the barangay hall of Conrazon to make a courtesy call to Brgy. Captain Wilson C. Mirano. We requested assistance to him to get to Sitio Dyandang to visit the Tadyawan Mangyans. However, when we got there, Kap Wilson told us that we might not be able to continue our visit because the water in the river we will be crossing is rough and is about waist level. It will also take us almost 8 hours of walking to reach the Mangyan’s village and we might not be able to get back immediately. Moreover, a typhoon is approaching which will hit the province and we can get stranded. Hence, he suggested us to meet with the Mangyans in Sitio Abokado which is nearer.  We feared that we might not be able to contact them due poor cellular service in their area, but when we called them to tell them the new plan, they said that they were already waiting for us in Sitio Abokado. We rushed to the area to start our interview since it’s getting late and we want them to get back to their village before the sun goes down.

We rode with Kap Wilson in his truck and we traverse over smooth and rough roads. The road development is still undone, making it hard for vehicles to travel the area. Yet, the landscape was astonishing as we get to Sitio Abokado. After a 30-minute ride, we already saw the group of Mangyans approaching us. One of them, smiling widely is Ate Norma, the reason for our visit.

Ate Norma Somodio, is the very first winner of the Regional Search for Ulirang Parent Leader which commenced last September 2017. On the day of her awarding, which is during the Regional Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children, I talked to her about taking an interview with her so she can share with me her story and the story of her community. The MAT-leader of Bansud, Darleen Lolong, suggested to meet with her in their house in the municipality but Ate Norma insisted that we go to their sitio so that we can see their condition. As a result, we planned our travel to the area.

We proceeded with the interview in the area where they conduct their family development sessions (FDS). Since Sitio Dyandang is very far, the beneficiaries go down to the mountains to attend their FDS in Sitio Abokado.

Among the five nominees of the Search, Ate Norma has been recognized due to her utmost determination to help not only her cluster but also other IP clusters in their area to uplift their lives through connecting them with support and intervention given by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. According to her, being a parent leader is such a great instrument for her to become an effective and a better person. It did not only benefit her family but it also opened doors to opportunities and personal growth for her.


Discovering the Roots

I asked Ate Norma to describe to us the family she grew up with. She told us that she is the 5th among the 12 children of her parents, born and raised in Sitio Dyandang as a member of Tadyawan Mangyan tribe. Her parents both worked in the farm. She did not acquire any formal education as she was asked by her mother to help her in taking care of her siblings and attending to their farm. Ate Norma’s eyes became gloomy as she continued her story. She said that she sometimes envies her siblings since she was the only one to stay at home with their parents. She really wanted to go to school but even if she tries to, her mother would not permit it. She was only able to attend non-formal education when she was older through different organizations that visit their community. Still, she is very proud of her five siblings who were able to graduate in college and are now working as professional workers.

Ate Norma married at a young age in a tribal wedding with her husband, Ayro. The two were blessed with three children namely Nelsie, Nelson, and Adela. They have been a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya for almost eight years. As a member of the IP community without any formal knowledge, Ate Norma is truly thankful for the program as it gave her a chance to explore her capabilities being a leader.

According to Ate Norma, she has been taking the responsibility of a Parent Leader for eight years to her IP members in Sitio Dyandang. To help her fellow IP beneficiaries who are not good in understanding Tagalog, she translates their module in their ethnic dialect. Seeing her potential, she became a trained facilitator of the FDS under iHelp, Inc., one of the partner-CSOs of the program. She also said that there have been many changes in their community since the implementation of the program especiallyss on personal hygiene and cleanliness. Ate Norma proudly said that IPs in their community are now having the initiative to clean not only their homes but also their surroundings.

Through their income in farming, Ate Norma and her husband are able to send their children to school. Their family has been an inspiration to other IPs as they were the first in their community to send their children to college and vocational school. Their eldest child, Nelsie is currently a Third Year College student taking up BS in Elementary Education at the Innovative College of Science and Technology in Bongabong. The second child, Nelson, is a vocational student taking Automotive Service NCC II at Simeon Suan Vocational Technological College in Bansud. The youngest, Adela, is a Grade 9 student of Pagasa National High School.


A True Leader

During the conduct of our interview, Ate Norma was accompanied by two other Mangyans who are part of her cluster. Since Ate Norma cannot recall all of her community initiatives and participations, the two other beneficiaries told us how Ate Norma helps their IP community. According to them, she assists mothers to their monthly health visits and educates everyone on the importance of good personal hygiene. She is also an advocate of children’s right that is why she assists parents in the registration of their children in the Municipal Civil Registrar. She also encourages parents to send their children to school because she believes that an educated child can go far and can be able to reach his/her dreams. Since she was not able to have formal education, it has always been her desire to see her children graduate and be successful in their chosen career.

Before being a parent leader, Ate Norma told us that she was not very active and participative of any community movement. But, seeing the many issues and challenges their community faces, she became determined to help their community for its betterment. From being a simple housewife, she stepped out to let herself be an advocate to bring changes in other lives of her fellow IP beneficiaries. In fact, she became a dedicated community volunteer and advocate of gender and development. She is always willing to advice and refer women victim of abuse to different departments and agencies to report their cases. She became a volunteer of the construction of the school building in Dyandang Elementary School.

Ate Norma is also a member of the Community Health Team, who assists the community members with regards to health concerns. She is responsible with the deworming of children, weight and height monitoring, and assisting and reporting of pregnant women. With her initiative, she led her members in the community clean-up drive of Bansud River in Brgy. Conrazon. She also coordinated with several private and public organizations to provide seminars and trainings to their IP group. The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) and other barangay officials also seek her help to coordinate with other IPs in their community when providing services and facing other concerns. She encourages her members to plant food in their backyard so that they can have alternative source of food. She also advises her members not to rely on the program, but find ways to obtain sustainable income.


Dreaming Forward

For my final question, I asked Ate Norma about her dreams and her aspirations. “Gusto ko lang talaga ma’am na makatapos ang mga anak ko. Para naman sa aming komunidad, sana mas magkaroon kami ng maayos na daan kung hindi man kami mapupuntahan sa taas lalo na ng mga guro,” she answered.

I asked her once again if she has a dream only for herself but she just responded selflessly with, “wala naman na po akong mahihiling pa para sa sarili ko. Ang gusto ko na lang po ay ang para sa mga anak ko.

Sayang Ma’am, sana nakapunta kayo sa amin sa Dyandang para makita ninyo ang sitwasyon namin doon,” Ate Norma said as I wrapped up the interview. She is eager to invite us to their community to see the changes brought through the help of the program as well as other challenges that are yet to be overtaken.


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