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Story of Tatay Wilfredo: Serving as the Pillar and the Light of the Home

A food vendor, a farmer, a hog raiser, an active church member, a Barangay Tanod, a Barangay Health Worker, an active PTA President, and a father and mother all at once – these are all of Wilfredo’s duties and responsibilities after he became a widower. Getting by with his small income from farming, he exclaims how he give his best to provide for his 6 children even without their mother.


Becoming a Solo Parent

When he was in his teenage years, Wilfredo V. Turiana, a native of Tilik, Lubang, Occidental Mindoro, decided to go to Manila to work instead of studying because his parents cannot afford to get him to school. He decided to work in a small grocery store which is owned by a relative but he did not stay long because he got sick. When he recovered his good health, he applied again for work as gasoline boy in Novaliches, Caloocan City.

At the age of 18 he met and fell in love with Marina Joy Locay who later on became her wife. In 1992, they decided to settle down in Wilfredo’s hometown in Occidental Mindoro, where they planned to build their family. They got married in a mass wedding in 1998 and were blessed with 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. They live a simple life only depending to Wilfredo’s income from farming in sustaining the needs of their family. But an unfortunate situation happened in the year 2008 when his wife died in delivering their youngest son.

Wilfredo still reminisces those memories he has when their family is still complete. Even though they were experiencing difficulties in life, it seems to him that he has a perfect family since they are always happy together.

Working and taking care of the family alone for their children is a lot harder than Wilfredo thought. Having both the responsibility of a mother and a father, Wilfredo do household chores such as washing clothes, preparing food for his children, and cleaning the house. After that incident, Wilfredo knows that he has to find ways to ensure that he can provide the needs of his children. Hence, he continues to work hard as a farmer. He also tends to work as a garbage collector and house cleaner when there is no work in the farm. Moreover, he collects and sells dry woods, cooks kakanin to sell in the port, and raises hogs and chicken.

He always says that their family have ups and downs because of their situation. But nurturing his sons and daughters is his first priority as he ensures that all of them can go to school since he believes that education can help them create a good future.


Finding a ‘partner’ in the program

Wilfredo has big dreams for his children. Not being able to finish his studies, he aims to send his children to school as well as provide them their needs. However, he struggles to support them as much as he wanted to because he has an unstable source of income.

In 2009, a year after the death of his wife, Wilfredo shared how lucky he was as he felt she found a partner in raising his children after he became a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides monthly cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers, and attending the Family Development Sessions (FDS).

Wilfredo was very thankful because it lessens his burden financially and was able to learn deeply to appreciate what they have.

Other than the cash grants being provided by the program, he is also thankful because this program taught her to be a better parent through her regular attendance to the Family Development Session (FDS). He acknowledges it as very essential in guiding every Filipino family.

Being a member of Pantawid Pamilya also opens a lot of opportunities for Wilfredo as he was chosen the Parent Leader of their cluster. He also becomes an active member of the community. He also started to serve his barangay as Barangay Tanod which has helped him won as Barangay Kagawad from 2010-2013. He also became an active president of the Parent-Teachers Association from 2007 to 20018 in elementary and secondary schools in their barangay. Furthermore, he is currently serving as a Barangay Health Worker (BHW) to their community and a Hermano Mayor, Lector and commentator, and Lay Minister of the Eucharist in the Parish of San Nicholas Church even though he has his own duties at home.


Getting Stronger for the Family

Because of his eagerness to make money for his family, there were times when Wilfredo forgets to attend to the needs of their children.

“Minsan nagtrabaho ako sa bukid dahil biglaang tawag ng kapwa magsasaka at nakalimutang maghanda ng pagkaing pananghali di nakakain ang aking mga anak at ako’y awang awa at halos tumulo na aking luha,” he shared.

According to him, the program has helped him realize that always being there for his children is the most important.

For Wilfredo, the happiness they share today because of their good relationship at home and the accomplishments of her children in school reflects his success as a solo parent. This is what keeps him going every day and continuously inspires him to work harder until all his children achieve their dreams. ###

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