Archive | Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

DSWD MIMAROPA launches Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign

Pantawid Pamilya launches its Bata Balik Ekwela Campaign to the different provinces of MIMAROPA Region to encourage students who are not attending school to continue studying

Malate, Manila – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office MIMAROPA through Pantawid Pamilyang Pamilya Program launched the Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign on May 20, 2019 as part of its efforts to encourage children beneficiaries to enroll in school and maintain their attendance in class. With tagline, “Edukasyon ay Mahalaga, Ito ay ating Ipaalala”, the campaign will continue until the end of enrollment which is set on August.

In order to sustain the compliance of the beneficiaries to the program’s conditionalities especially in education, the Pantawid Pamilya rolled out the Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign or BBE which is targeted mainly for Pantawid children who are not currently enrolled and not attending.

The campaign was launched to encourage Pantawid children who are not attending school to continue studying so that they will fully utilize the program’s benefits,” said DSWD MIMAROPA OIC Regional Director Floreceli G. Gunio.

The different Municipal Operations Offices (MOOs) of Pantawid Pamilya set up information booth during Brigada Eskwela as part of the campaign to provide consultation to parents and children who are not attending school (Photo from Buenavista, Marinduque)

The Pantawid Pamilya provides conditional cash grants to the poor Filipino families, investing on health and education of the children. It provides P300.00 for every family who are compliant to its health conditionalities while another P300.00 for every monitored child who maintains 85% of their attendance in pre-school and elementary while P500.00 for those who are studying in high school. Only three children of the household-beneficiary can be monitored.

“Through the campaign, different reasons for not attending school were identified such as early pregnancy/fatherhood, bullying, gender-based violence, loss of interest, and working among others. These serve as guide to manage the cases of the children and provide them proper interventions,” explained Gunio.

Before the launch of the campaign, the Regional Office of Pantawid Pamillya convened all social workers of the DSWD Field Office MIMAROPA to create an action plan based on the different reasons for not attending school. These strategies have helped the field staff of the Provincial Operations Offices (POOs) in the execution of the campaign which include setting up of information desk during Brigada Eskwela; conducting focus group discussions to both parents and children; and tapping Alternative Learning System (ALS) coordinators to provide orientation about other modes of education offered by the Department of Education (DepEd) which they may also attend in lieu of the formal regular classes if they were not able to finish elementary or high school or have not attended school at all. In Oriental Mindoro, Pantawid Pamilya field staff conducted a stage play in every municipality. The stage play commenced on May 22, 2019 in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro and will continue until June 28, 2019. The play demonstrates stories of the beneficiaries and their struggles in life especially in gaining access to education. Through the stage play, the field implementer aim to exhibit the different means which beneficiaries may adopt in order to respond with their problems to allow them to continue studying.

Moreover, the program coordinates with the schools and Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs) to discuss the involvement of the school’s Child Protection Policies and the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children in the implementation of the campaign. Starting June until August, the field staff will conduct case management, group work, and monitoring for those students who did not enroll for School Year 2019 to 2020.

“It is hoped that through these efforts, the importance of education in providing a better future will be instilled in the minds of the children beneficiaries,” Gunio said.

As of March 2019, there are 14,872 identified children beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya in MIMAROPA Region who are not attending school.  ###

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A Teacher’s Quest in Ensuring Education for the Disadvantaged

Geralyn Fajilan of Mabini National High School has been awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal 2019 on Education for her efforts beyond service to the children beneficiaries of the program

“Galing ako sa mahirap na pamilya kaya nararamdaman ko rin ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga estudyante namin dito (I also came from a poor family that’s why I know the difficulties that our students are going through),” said teary-eyed Geralyn Fajilan, the Pantawid Pamilya focal for education in Corcuera, Romblon when asked about what keeps her motivated in encouraging children from poor families to pursue their studies.

For four years of being a Pantawid focal, Geralyn has been providing services to the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beyond her duty of monitoring the compliance verification of the program’s monitored children in Mabini National Highschool in Brgy. Mabini, Corcuera, Romblon.  Since she came from a poor family who depends on farming to finance their needs, she understands the challenges that the students have to face especially in financing their education. Therefore, she was glad when she was assigned as the Pantawid focal since she will be able to take part in the program’s advocacy in keeping children in school through provision of financial assistance.

“Napakalaking responsibilidad para sa akin ang maging isang focal ng programa dahil kinakailangan kong siguruhin na maayos na natatanggap ng mga batang ito ang tulong mula sa programa sa pamamagitan ng pagmomonitor ko ng attendance nila sa kanilang mga klase, (Being a focal of the program is a big responsibility for me because I need to ensure that the children will properly receive the aide from the program through monitoring their attendance to their classes),” Geralyn said. “Kaya naman hindi ko lamang silang gustong tulungan na makatanggap ng kumpletong cash grant kundi gusto ko rin silang tulungang mapabuti ang kanilang pag-aaral sa pamamagitan ng pagtuturo ko at ibang mga proyekto ko para sa kanila (That’s why I want to help them not only to receive their complete cash grants but also help them with their studies through my teachings and the different projects I develop for them)”, she added.

Through Geralyn, the 4Ps club in Mabini National High School was established and Pantawid student beneficiaries were prioritized in receiving other services that their school offers. Aside from mobilizing the student beneficiaries in participating actively in school and community activities, the club was also created to better monitor the compliance of the students to the program conditionalities.

 

Beyond Duty

In 2016, Geralyn was assigned by their school Principal, Ronald Famodulan as the Pantawid focal. “Nakitaan ko siya ng malasakit sa pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng mga estudyante dahil sa pangunguna niya sa aming proyektong, ‘Adopt-A-Child Program’ kaya siya ang napili kong coordinator (I saw how she cares for our students in attending to their needs due to her management in our project, ‘Adopt-A-Child Program that’s why I assigned her to become the coordinator),” Mr. Famodulan said.  As the coordinator of the said project, which was the initiative of the former principal of the school, she encourages the alumni of the school to become sponsors of children, whose grades are not lower than 85%, to help them with their financial needs. As much as she wants to help more students, there are only limited slots since there are limited numbers of sponsors hence, the students undergo screening to identify the deserving students. Currently, 24 out of 46 grantees of the project are Pantawid beneficiaries.

Geralyn believes that part of her responsibility as a focal is to ensure the welfare of the students through helping them appreciate the importance of education in attaining a better future.  Because of this, she is determined to exert efforts to help these children in uplifting their lives as well as their families.

Mahalaga na malaman ng mga bata ang kahalagahan ng edukasyon kaya kailangang bigyan sila ng motibasyon para ipagpatuloy ang pag-aaral at magtiwala rin sa kanilang sarili, (It is important for the children to understand the importance of education that’s why we need to motivate them to continue their studies and to become confident with themselves),” Geralyn said. This has inspired her to establish the 4Ps Club in 2018 to organize the 412 student beneficiaries of their school in strengthening the advocacy of the program. Through this club, Geralyn aims to strengthen the sense of responsibility and leadership of the students as well as boost their confidence of being a Pantawid beneficiary.

Geralyn organized the student beneficiaries of Pantawid to create the 4Ps club in 2018

Sa pamamagitan po ng 4Ps club, mas naging proud na po kaming mga estudyante na maging benepisyaryo ng 4Ps dati po kasi ay may mga nahihiya ‘pag sinasabing sila ay 4Ps (Through 4Ps club, we became more proud to be a beneficiary of 4Ps since before, there were students who were intimidated to tell others that they are beneficiaries of the program),” said Trisha Fampo, the president of the club.

The students nominated their officers and each grade level have their own representatives to make it easier for them to gather the members and keep them updated of the activities and the program’s advocacies. The club conducted a community clean-up drive and created an herbal nursery in school, which were all coordinated and organized by the officers of the club.

“Kami po ang nakikipag-usap sa Department of Agriculture para sa mga seeds o kaya sa barangay para sa iba pa naming mga kailangan (We coordinate with the Department of Agriculture for the seeds or with the barangay for the other things that we need),” Trisha said. According to her, the club has inspired them not only to become better students but also become better members of the community.

For Geralyn, the club has also become a great help for her as Pantawid focal since she is able to better monitor the compliance of the student beneficiaries as well as somewhat solve issues on non-compliance. “Mayroon silang peer counselling sa kanilang mga kaklase na hindi pumapasok o kaya naman ay palaging nagcucutting (They conduct peer counselling with their fellow classmates who have issues on absenteeism or on cutting classes),” said Geralyn. It has allowed students to easily seek help to their fellow classmates or beneficiaries and provide listening and support for those problematic students.

“Kapag may mga kapwa benepisyaryo po kami na nahihirapan na at hindi na po namin makausap, nirerefer na po namin ito kay Ma’am (When there are fellow beneficiaries who are having difficulties which we cannot handle, we refer it to our teacher),” said Trisha. She added that the officers of the club also coordinate with the Pantawid municipal staff in conducting counselling to the non-compliant beneficiaries.

The club has gained support of the school since it has also helped them in decreasing the numbers of students who are dropping out. “Dahil majority ng aming eskwelahan ay 4Ps beneficiaries, sa tulong ng mga pagmomonitor sa mga bata, bumababa ang kaso ng drop out sa amin (Since majority of our students are beneficiaries of 4Ps, the monitoring conducted has helped in the decrease of students who are dropping out of our school),” said Mr. Famodulan.

After a year of its establishment, the Municipal staff of Pantawid in Corcuera was inspired to introduce to other schools in their municipality the organization of a 4Ps club  for the next academic year through their meeting this May. On March 2019, Mabini National High School recorded a 96.60% compliance rate where 14 students were non-compliant.

 

Becoming an Inspiration

“Si Ma’am Geralyn ang nagbigay sa akin ng lakas na loob na kayanin ang isang pagiging lider sa lahat ng mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps sa aming eskwelahan (It was Ma’am Geralyn who has given me the confidence to become a leader of all 4Ps beneficiaries in our school),” said Trisha. Trisha was able to develop her leadership because of being the president of the club since it was Teacher Geralyn who believed in her.

According to Mr. Famodulan, one of the greatest characteristics of Geralyn is her ability to inspire students to reach greater heights of performance and success. In fact, as the Grade 10 adviser, she has been able to motivate all of her students to graduate with honors for two consecutive years already.

Teacher Geralyn ensures that her students are inspired and motivated to finish their studies to achieve their dreams in life

Geralyn was motivated to extend efforts to the beneficiaries of the program because she understood the objectives of the program in educating the children. With her strong dedication and passion to help them, she is driven to continue helping the program towards attaining its objectives.

For Geralyn, it is not important to be recognized and appreciated as long as she does things which can benefit other people.

Through being a Pantawid focal, Geralyn said that she was able to be given a chance to use and develop her skills as a teacher to open the eyes of the children in understanding the importance of education in improving their lives, their families, and their community. With this, Geralyn assured that she will continue in becoming an inspiration to the students and in helping them achieve their dreams. ###

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Bridging Pantawid Community towards Good Health

Nelly Lusterio was awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal on Health of Pantawid Pamilya MIMAROPA

Binigyan tayo ng pagkakataong makatulong sa iba, kaya nararapat lang na gawin na natin ito nang buong puso at sa abot nang ating makakaya (We were given the opportunity to help others so we must do it wholeheartedly and with all our best),” said Nelly T. Lusterio, who makes this her personal mantra to continue doing her best in helping the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro in improving their quality of life through complying to the health conditionalities of the program.

Aside from serving as a Midwife III in Bansud Health Station, Nelly was assigned as the Pantawid focal on health in the municipality since the start of the program in 2009. Throughout her years in service, she assures that the beneficiaries of the program will receive the right health services and attain knowledge on the significance of availing these services especially the Indigenous People (IP) beneficiaries who constitute a great portion of the families she monitors.

“Ako man ay hindi rin nakakaangat sa buhay, isang karangalan para sa akin ang mabigyan ng tulong sa kahit maliit na paraan sa mga pamilyang ito (I may not also be affluent in life, but it is an honor to be of help to these families even in a simple way),” she said.

Nelly is motivated to assist the beneficiaries of the program through exerting efforts in ensuring that the they comply to its conditionalities since she understands how important it is for these poor families to receive not only the complete financial assistance from the program but also to obtain the health services that they need to improve the health condition of their family. She provides services to the Pantawid beneficiaries not only because it is her duty as a health practitioner but also because she understands that provision of health care to the poor families is important in providing better lives for them, coming from a low class of the society, herself.

 

Descent

Nelly was born and raised in Sinait, Ilocos Sur. Her father was a farmer while her mother was a housewife who takes care of her and her younger brother.

Mahirap din ang aming buhay noon bilang umaasa lamang kami sa pagsasaka ng aking ama. Tuwing anihan lamang nakakaipon ang aming mga magulag para sa aming pang-araw-araw at sa aming pag-aaral (Our life was also difficult before since we only rely on our father through farming. It is only during harvest seasons that our parents can save money for our daily needs and for our education),” Nelly narrated.

Though they are only a small family, it had been difficult for her parents to finance their education. But through her dedication and her parent’s hard work, she was able to graduate at St. Rita School of Nursing and Midwifery in Metro Manila with a course in Midwifery. She was also fortunate to study Bachelor of Science in Community Health at the Trinity College of Quezon City through the help of the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP).

After graduating, she met Erwin Lusterio and got married to him in 1984. Since then, they lived in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro, together with their three daughters.

To practice what she had studied Nelly applied for work in Bansud Health Station, where she has developed a strong dedication in providing health services to those in need.

Makikitaan si Tita Nelly ng kaniyang dedikasyon sa trabaho sa attitude pa lamang nya sa pagtanggap ng tungkulin at sa pagbigay ng serbisyo sa nangangailangan (Tita Nelly’s dedication towards her work can be seen through her attitude in accepting her responsibilities and in providing services to those in need),” said Dr. Mario O. Sales, their Municipal Health Officer. According to him, Nelly continuously provide her service even after office hours whenever she will be visited or consulted at home.

Nagsimula ako na mayroong maliit lamang na sweldo pero pinagpatuloy ko iyon dahil masaya ako sa aking ginagawa (I started with only a small compensation for my work, but I continued working because I am happy with what I do),” she said. They would visit remote sitios to offer health services especially that there are many IP communities in the area. They would walk 5 kilometers from one sitio to another to visit the IPs just to ensure their availment of health services.

“Doon din siguro nagmula ang motibasyon ko para tulungan sila dahil nakikita ko mula sa mga pagbisita namin sa kanilang komunidad kung gaano kahirap ang buhay doon at kung anong serbisyo ang maari naming maibigay sa kanila (Maybe that’s where my motivation in helping them started since I was able to see their situation during our community visits which determines what services we can give to them),” Nelly said.

Although her job requires her to spend more time and effort, Nelly’s family has been supportive to what she does and is proud of her for her commitment towards it. They understand the responsibilities of their mother since there are people going to their house to consult to her. If she’s not at home and her patients go there to seek for health assistance, her children will immediately call her so she can provide immediate response.

 

Compassion

Nelly is seen to be responsible, hard-working, and empathic towards the people she serves. Because of these traits, she was assigned as the Pantawid focal for health in 2009 when the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program started through the recommendation of Dr. Sales. According to him, because of her character, Nelly has already established her relationship with their patients. “Isa sa mga best characteristics nya ay may malasakit sya sa aming pasyente. Madali syang pakisamahan at approachable sa katutubo man or sa Tagalog (One of her best characteristics is she has concern to our patients. She is also easy to get along with and approachable to IPs or the Tagalos),” he said. Because of this, he knows that Nelly will be the best candidate for being a coordinator of the program.

As the focal on health, she ensures that the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya avail health services that they need

As Pantawid focal on health, she ensures that the beneficiaries comply on the health conditionalities of the program such as in getting regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines of children 0-5 years of age, getting deworming pills twice a year of children aged 6-14 years old, getting pre-natal care and post-natal care of pregnant women, and delivering of pregnant women by a skilled birth attendant.

“Simula nang ako ay naging Pantawid Focal Person, mas naging matibay ang aking kagustuhan na matulungan ang aking mga kababayan na higit na nangangailang ng tulong pangkalusugan (Since I have become a Pantawid Focal Person, the urge in me to help others in need of health assistance strengthened),” she said.

More than her duty in monitoring the Compliance Verification forms of the beneficiaries, she conducts home visitation to beneficiaries who are non-compliant to follow-up on the reason of non-compliance and to explain to them the importance of the program and its advocacies on helping them through investing on health and nutrition of their families.

One case she handled on non-compliance was a pregnant Mangyan couple who did not avail pre-natal services and did not want to deliver her baby in the health center due to their beliefs. She tried to persuade the couple to go to the center because the condition of the woman is sensitive and critical which may be life threatening to both herself and the baby if she was to give birth at home. After continuously trying, she was able to convince them. “Lubos ang pasasalamat sa akin ng lalaki noon dahil kung hindi ko daw sila sinabihan ay baka kung ano ang masamang nangyari sa kanyang asawa (The husband was extremely grateful because if I did not urge them, an unfortunate event might happen to her wife),” narrated Nelly. Since then, the couple convinced other IP couples to deliver their babies in the health center to ensure their safety.

Sumasama ako sa mga FDS upang maibahagi ang kahalagahan ng kalusugan at upang magbigay na rin ng updates sa mga benepisyaryong minomonitor ko lalo sa sa mga IP area (I join FDS to discuss the importance of health and to provide updates on the beneficiaries that I monitor especially in the IP areas),” she said. Nelly initiated efforts in visiting IP communities together with the barangay health workers (BHW) to educate them on family planning and ensuring the health of their children by availing check-ups especially for pregnant women. She encourages them to give birth at the health center to ensure safe delivery of their babies.

As a midwife, she collaborates with BHWs to identify who are pregnant to encourage beneficiaries to give birth in the health facilities to avoid pregnant women giving birth at home to lessen maternal and infant death, as well as morbidity cases.

Nelly ensures that the beneficiaries she caters are compliant to the conditionalities of the program

Ang maging isang Pantawid focal sa kalusugan ay napakalaking responsibilidad. Sa kabila ng dami ng aking trabaho, sinisiguro ko na nagagampanan ko at natutugunan ang aking responsibilidad sa mga batang Pantawid at mga miyembro nito (Being a Pantawid focal on health is a great responsibility. Despite my workload, I ensure that I fulfill and meet my responsibilities towards the Pantawid children beneficiaries and its members),” Nelly said.

Kumpara sa ibang mga focals na nagsheshade lang [ng CV forms], makikitaan si Tita Nelly ng concern sa mga benepisyaryo. Kung hindi niya masolusyunan ang non-compliance ng isang benepisyaryo, sisiguraduhin niyang ilapit muna sa amin ito bago niya gawing non-compliant sa form (Compared to other focals who only shade [CV forms], Tita Nelly has sincere concern for the beneficiaries. If she cannot solve the non-compliance of beneficiaries, she will make sure to bring the issue to us before listing them as non-compliant),” said Municipal Link Mary Joy M. Singsing in Bansud. According to Joy, Nelly has positive attitude towards the beneficiaries of the program which has helped her to easily encourage them to comply with the conditionalities on health even with the IPs, who find it difficult to visit health center due to their distance and due to their cultural beliefs. Because of this, beneficiaries in the areas she monitors have achieved a 100% compliance rate on health for 2 years.

 

Continuity

“Hangga’t andito ako, patuloy kong gagampanan ang aking responsibilidad bilang Pantawid focal para sa mga benepisyaryo ng Pantawid (As long as I am still here, I will continue perform my responsibilities as a Pantawid focal for the beneficiaries of the program)”, Nelly said.

“Masaya akong nagiging parte ako ng pagbabago sa kanilang buhay kahit sa maliit lamang na bagay na ibinibigay ko (I am happy to be part of the changes in their lives even with the simple things I give them),” she added.

According to her, she finds joy in the assistance she gives towards the beneficiaries of the program and she will never get tired of promoting the importance of health as part of the improvement of their lives. ###

 

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Pantawid Pamilya MIMAROPA recognizes partners on Health and Education

Malate, Manila – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office MIMAROPA through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program recognizes the efforts and services of partner stakeholders (Pantawid Focals) from the schools and health centers through conducting the Search for Best Pantawid Focal on Health and Education on April. The activity is part of the efforts of the program to strengthen partnership with different stakeholders for a more effective and efficient delivery of the program’s services and initiatives.

Since its implementation, the program has been partnering with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DepEd) to monitor the compliance of the beneficiaries to the program’s conditionalities on health and education. The schools and health centers assign a Pantawid focal to submit the necessary documents to verify their compliance.

The Search for Pantawid Focal provided Certificate of Recognition to all focal persons who have been serving for more than 2 years. Meanwhile, the focals on health and education who have exerted efforts beyond their duties and responsibilities to ensure the welfare of the beneficiaries were given the title Best Pantawid Focal on Health and Best Pantawid Focal on Education.

Each province nominated their best Pantawid focal on the Health and Education Category. The finalists in the Health category are: Eden Favila of Panitian National High School, Sofronio Española, Palawan; Cesar G. Castillo of Dayhagan National High School, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro; Geralyn Fajilan of Mabini National High School, Corcuera, Romblon; Jessie G. Santiago of Magsaysay National High School, Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro; and Ma. Luisa C. Fellizar of Timbo Elementary School, Buenavista, Marinduque. Meanwhile, for the Health category, the nominees are: Elvira A. Manga, of Dumarao Barangay Health Station, Roxas, Palawan; Lina F. Fruelda of San Roque Health Station, Corcuera, Romblon; Carmelita T. Disor of Rural Health Unit, Lubang Occidental Mindoro; and Nelly T. Lusterio of Bansud Health Center, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro.

After the screening and validation of Pantawid MIMAROPA, Nelly from Bansud Health Center, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro was awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal on Health while Geralyn from Mabini Nationl High School, Corcuera, Romblon, was awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal on Education.

Aside from serving as a Midwife III in Bansud Health Station, Nelly T. Lusterio was assigned as the Pantawid focal on health in the municipality since the start of the program in 2009. Throughout her years in service, she assures that the beneficiaries of the program will receive the right health services and attain knowledge on the significance of availing these services especially the Indigenous People (IP) beneficiaries who constitute a great portion of the families she monitors. She conducts home visitation to beneficiaries who are non-compliant to follow-up on the reason of non-compliance and to explain to them the importance of the program and its advocacies on helping them through investing on health and nutrition of their families.

Meanwhile, Geralyn, a Pantawid focal on Education for four years, has been providing services to the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beyond her duty of monitoring the compliance verification of the program’s monitored children in Mabini National Highschool in Brgy. Mabini, Corcuera, Romblon. She established the 4Ps Club in 2018 to organize the 412 student beneficiaries of their school in strengthening the advocacy of the program. Through this club, Geralyn aims to strengthen the sense of responsibility and leadership of the students as well as boost their confidence of being a Pantawid beneficiary.

Both Pantawid focals will attend the National Partnership Summit in Metro Manila on May to be awarded together with the other focals of the region.

The program will continue its partnership with DepEd and DOH in line with its objectives to invest on the health and education of the children to improve their quality of life. ###

 

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Pantawid beneficiaries of Santa Cruz Marinduque receive payout

Pantawid beneficiaries of Santa Cruz, Marinduque in queue to receive cash grants for February-March and April-May

 

Santa Cruz, Marinduque –    On July 28, 2017, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries from the 55 barangays of Santa Cruz, Marinduque gathered in Sta. Cruz Multi-purpose Hall to receive their cash grants for February-March and April-May.

Through the help of the Marinduque Social Action Multi-purpose Cooperative (MASAMCO), which served as one of the conduits of the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) in Marinduque, a total of 14,200,300 pesos was released during the payout— 9,031,800 pesos from P1 of 2017 and 5,186,500 from P2 of 2017.

The delay of payout from the month of February was due to the search for new conduit of LBP, which will help the bank in the distribution of cash grants to areas which has limited LBP branch. The termination of contract of the former conduits  had delayed the process of the distribution for beneficiaries without LBP Cash Card or First Consolidated Bank-Pitakard.  ###

 

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Strength in Numbers

“Hindi ako nagsisi kahit madami sila…medyo hirap, pero kinakaya tsaka masaya naman (I do not regret having many children…it is sometimes hard, but we get through it and we are happy)” said Marlyn Geonzon, a mother of ten.

Being economically challenged and having more children to feed, Marlyn and his husband, Maclyn, work hard each day to support the needs especially the education of their children.

 

Marlyn and Maclyn inside their house in Roxas, Palawan

One Big, happy family

In a typical Filipino family, the father is in charge of earning a living for the family while the mother is expected to take care of the children. But Marlyn and Maclyn tend to defy the norm as they consider each other as their ultimate partner in life. Marlyn and Maclyn support each other in providing for their family; however, both of them do not have stable jobs as Maclyn works as a tricycle driver while Marlyn is a food vendor.

They met in 1988 and both have been working hard since then. As their family is growing, the couple knows that they need to earn more in order to sustain the needs of their children.  Both of them wake up at 3:00 in the morning to cook arroz caldo and other viands for lunch which Marlyn sells in government offices and houses near them. She also sells bilo-bilo, pancit, and rice porridge for merienda. When the clock hits 5 in the afternoon, she goes back home to prepare barbecue which she sells in front of their house. Marlyn was able to get a job as a Public Service Foreman in a Job Order Contract in the Municipal Assessor’s Office in 2006, but she continues selling food in their office for extra income.

According to Marlyn, they are lucky enough to be given ten obedient and wonderful children, of which five are girls while five are boys. And despite being economically challenged, the couple was able to give Mark Francis, Mae Sheila Ann, Mary Lovely Jane, Marc Lester, Marc Philip, Mary Apple Rose, Michelle Ivy Zhielaxy, Maclyn Jr., May Angel Catherine and Michael John Irish access to good education.

 

Getting through life’s hardship

Marlyn and Maclyn strive hard to provide the needs of their children. Just like most parents, they prioritize their children more than themselves. And with the help of certain programs of the government and their family’s efforts and hard work, Marlyn said that they have somehow get through with life’s hardship.

It was in 2009 that they have been listed as a partner-beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which had greatly helped in their family’s finances. Marlyn is serving as a Parent Leader in their cluster since 2011. “Ang programang ito ng gobyerno ay napakaganda dahil kung ihahambing natin ang panahon noong wala pa ang Pantawid ay maraming palaboy-laboy sa lansangan at hindi nag-aaral (This program of the government is helpful because before the intervention of Pantawid, children are seen in the streets instead of studying in school),” she explained.

She is thankful of the program as it helped them in financing for the education and health of their children. Together with the cash grant that they receive and the scholarships that her children obtain from several government office and other organizations, four of her children had already graduated college – Mark Francis, their eldest graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Programming; Mae Sheila Ann graduated Secondary Education; Mary Lovely Jane in Business Administration; while Marc Lester finished his degree in Electrical Engineering. Even though the grant they receive from Pantawid is not much, it helped them a lot especially since it has been difficult for them to send all of their children in school all at the same time.

 

Working together for a bright future

Children growing up in big families are said to become happier and more successful in life. The Geonzon Family might be a big one, but they believe that as long as they are together, they can overcome anything. It might take a while before all of them graduate from college, but they believe that everything will be worth it once it happened. Little by little, they can soon reach their dreams, knowing that they have their strength in numbers. ###

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