Raymond proudly wearing his DSWD red vest, symbolizing his role as an ‘Angel in Red Vest’ dedicated to uplifting his community.

“If it weren’t for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), I wouldn’t have achieved the success and dreams I have now,” says Raymond, a former 4Ps monitored child now a dedicated Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Social Worker.

Raymond’s journey from being a 4Ps beneficiary to a 4Ps staff is not just a narrative of personal triumph, but a testament to the transformative power of support and determination in the face of adversity. Born into a family of farmers in Barangay Pinagturilan, Santa Cruz, Occidental Mindoro, Raymond’s early life was shaped by the daily struggles to make ends meet. The simple joys of good meals were rare, and opportunities for education and growth seemed distant.

“Before, we could only enjoy good meals during birthdays or special occasions, and we mostly relied on the vegetables from our backyard,” says Raymond. Despite the simplicity, the family valued hard work, perseverance, and community spirit.

In 2009, Raymond’s family became recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), a lifeline that provided essential support for their basic needs—food, education, and health. For Raymond, this support became the catalyst for change. Beyond financial aid, 4Ps instilled in him a sense of hope and possibility. Through Youth Development Sessions (YDS), Raymond developed not only academic skills but also crucial qualities of self-awareness and confidence that would guide him through his journey.

“Pantawid Pamilya taught me a lot, especially during my adolescence. My mother always required me to attend the Youth Development Session (YDS), which helped me develop self-awareness and confidence.”

Driven by a desire to give his parents a better life and inspired by the impact of his local Municipal Link, Raymond excelled academically. He graduated with honors from both elementary and high school, and continued to shine as a Dean’s Lister in college. His aspirations crystallized around a vision: to become a licensed social worker and give back to the community that had supported him.

In May 2023, Raymond achieved a milestone by joining the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as a Project Development Officer II in Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro. His role allows him to directly impact lives, drawing from his personal experiences to empathize with and support current 4Ps beneficiaries.

Raymond facilitating a Family Development Session with dedication, with the program beneficiaries in the municipality of Abra de Ilog

“4Ps changed our lives. The program’s focus on investing in human capital became evident in our family as I strived to finish my studies, dream big, and find a respectable job,” Raymond shares. 

Raymond’s dedication extends beyond his professional role; it is a reflection of his commitment to the values instilled by 4Ps—perseverance, community spirit, and the belief in the transformative power of education and opportunity. His family’s journey mirrors this transformation: from financial stability and improved health to active community involvement and spiritual growth. Raymond’s mother, Chita, has emerged as a leader in their community, symbolizing the ripple effect of empowerment.

“As a former monitored child and now a worker, I want my story to inspire all beneficiaries,” he stated.

Embracing Risk: Raymond navigating a river with courage to serve the communities in Abra de Ilog.

As Raymond reflects on his journey, he emphasizes the importance of persistence and self-belief for current beneficiaries. His message is clear: celebrate small victories, stay curious, and never give up. He understands firsthand the challenges that beneficiaries face and pledges to maximize his efforts to ensure every child has access to education and a chance for a brighter future.

“I am committed to maximizing time, effort, and resources to help my beneficiaries. I will focus on case management to ensure children who are not attending school return to their studies, and providing interventions to improve their lives is also my priority,” Raymond pledges.

Raymond’s decision for his family to step away from the program, once they had achieved stability, speaks volumes about his gratitude and desire to pay it forward. His story is not just about personal achievement, but about becoming a beacon of hope for others. His journey from beneficiary to angel in a red vest symbolizes the transformation from receiving help to extending a helping hand—a journey driven by resilience, compassion, and the unwavering belief in the power of community support.

In every sense, Raymond embodies the essence of a social worker—an Angel in Red Vest—bringing light and hope to those in need, and inspiring others to believe in the possibility of change. His story is a living testament to the potential within every individual, given the right support and opportunity.###

Story by: Shiela Marie G. Villanueva, Municipal Link