Jennet exudes full confidence, a characteristic that embodies her role as a wonder woman in her community.

The story of Jennet A. Rosales, a 43-year-old fisherwoman and Barangay Tanod from Brgy. Kay Duke in Torrijos, Marinduque, unfolds where her service and contributions to her community extend far beyond her occupation.

Jennet’s journey as a volunteer began in 2005 when she became a barangay health worker. Her commitment to public service was recognized in 2011 when she became a Parent Leader of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). She played a crucial role in uplifting her co-beneficiaires, encouraging them to participate in vital barangay activities, from assemblies to community gardens.

Her household is a picture of a simple yet dedicated family. Jennet and her husband, Jobel, are both fisherfolk, ensuring the family’s sustenance.  They have been blessed with five sons: John Leodec, John Jester, John Cedric, Jolo, and Arjay.

“Noon, hirap na hirap kami. Wala kaming sariling bangka at lambat para sa aming kabuhayan. Kailangan pa naming humiram sa aking biyenan (Back then, we were really struggling. We didn’t have our own boat and fishing net for our livelihood. We had to borrow from my father-in-law),” Jennet describes their past life struggles. However, these challenges became their motivation to strive more for the future of their children.

“Ang mga cash grant na natatanggap namin ay talagang nakatulong dahil nakapagtipid kami at nakapagtabi para makabili ng mga kagamitan sa pangingisda (The cash grants we receive are significant because we save a portion to buy fishing equipment),” Jennet said. It was also a blessing when they were selected as 4Ps members for a livelihood program of the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) under the Sustainable Livelihood Program, where they received a cash assistance of P5,000.00, which contributed to purchasing their own fishing boat.

Jennet’s passion for learning and growth, gained from the Family Development Session and series of training attended, led her to volunteer as the chairperson for the barangay committee of the KALAHI-CIDDS program in 2013. For six years, she managed four sub-projects in their community, demonstrating her commitment to development. This paved the way for her to be recognized as a Regional Bayani Ka Awardee in 2018, a recognition given to exemplary community volunteers by the DSWD.

By 2017, she was elected President of the Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Kay Duke (SAMAMAKAY), further solidifying her influence in local fisheries. “Ang aking aktibong boluntaryong gawain sa komunidad ay ang aking paraan ng pagpapakita ng pasasalamat at pagbabalik sa gobyerno para sa tulong na natatanggap ng aking pamilya (My active volunteer work is my way of showing gratitude and giving back to the government for the aid we receive),” says Jennet.

In 2018, her foray into politics saw her elected as a barangay councilor for a five-year term, during which she oversaw the Farmers and Fishermen Sector and the Infrastructure Committee, showcasing her versatility and dedication to public service. Throughout her various roles, she has been instrumental in implementing numerous community projects that have significantly improved the quality of life for her fellow residents.

Jennet’s volunteer work often demands time away from her family and job, yet her understanding spouse and children support her endeavors wholeheartedly. Her dedication is further bolstered by the local government’s unwavering support for her projects.

In action: [L] Jennet and her co-volunteer inspect coastal sanctuary areas in Barangay Kay Duke as part of their fish warden duties; [R] Jennet with fellow 4Ps members leads the community gardening.
“Ang suporta ng aking pamilya, lalo na ng aking asawa, ay malaking tulong sa aking iba’t ibang mga gawaing boluntaryo dahil hindi niya ito nakikita bilang isang pabigat (The support of my family, especially my husband, is a huge help in my various volunteer works because he doesn’t see it as a burden.)” 

Jennet proudly stated that with the learnings from the Pantawid Pamilya, her family has become closer and they have established open communication, a key in maintaining their relationship. In 2014, their family bagged the 2nd runner-up award for the Regional Huwarang Pamilya, a recognition to outstanding family beneficiaries who maintain strong family ties, demonstrate positive Filipino values, and have a positive impact in the community. 

Jennet’s leadership skills further shone as she was elected president of the Bantay Dagat in Torrijos’ 14 coastal barangays. “Marahil ang sikreto ko sa pamamahala ng lahat ng ito ay ang pagkakaroon ng puso ng isang public servant. Ginagawa ko ito nang hindi umaasa ng anumang kapalit (Perhaps my secret to managing all this is having the heart of a public servant. I do this without expecting anything in return).” 

Her message to her community is clear: as citizens, it is their duty to contribute to the progress of their locality. Her hope is that one day, others will follow in her footsteps, taking on leadership roles and continuing the work she has started.

“Ngayon, ang ating priyoridad ay tiyaking makatapos ng pag-aaral ang ating mga anak (Now, our priority is to ensure our children complete their education),” knowing that Jennet and her family have only three more years left before their exit from the program with the passage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program law. 

Sa mga kapwa ko benepisyaryo, sana ay maisip nating lahat na dapat nating gamitin nang matalino ang tulong ng gobyerno dahil ito ay may hangganan at may katapusan (To my fellow beneficiaries, I hope we all realize that we must use the government’s assistance wisely because it has limits and an end),” she said.

Jennet A. Rosales is not just a mother and wife, a parent leader, a fisherwoman, a barangay tanod, a leader of various associations, a community volunteer—she is a wonder woman, the heartbeat of barangay Kay Duke, embodying the true spirit of public service. ###

Story by: Shenna R. Merene