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Kwento ng Pagbabago: Social Pension Beneficiary

Wala na akong pamilya.

Balo na ako ng 10 taon tapos hindi naman ako nagkaroon ng anak na maasahang tumulong sa akin upang harapin ang pang araw araw na hamon ng buhay dito sa Capaclan Romblon, Romblon.

Oo, sobrang hirap, pero kinakaya ko…  kailangan kong kayanin.

Ako ang sumusuporta at bumubuhay sa sarili ko. Ako rin  ang nagaalaga sa sarili ko kahit may sakit na ako.

Ang bigat na pagsubok, pero kailangan kong maging matatag kahit na medyo marupok na ang aking katawan dahil sa katandaan.

Natatandaan ko pa noon, magisa lang ako dyan sa bahay ko tapos bumabagyo. Sobrang takot na takot ako noon. Kumakalampag at umuuga na buong bahay ko dahil gawa lang naman ito sa pawid. Hindi ko alam kung mabubuhay pa ba ako kinabukasan.

Nagdasal nalang ako sa Ginoo. Sabi ko, kayo na po ang bahala sa akin. Alam ko pong mahal na mahal naman ninyo ako.

Sa awa ng Ginoo, ligtas naman ako. Sabi ko, bilang pasasalamat, higit pa akong magsisilbi sa kanya at sa aking kapwa.

Dito na nagsimula ang higit kong pag-aaruga sa aking mga kapitbahay, ang magkapatid na sina Lourdes at Celedonia.

Tulad ko, mga senior citizen na rin sila. Ngunit higit ang kanilang pinagdadaanan. Si Lourdes, ay may problema na sa pandinig at pananalita. Hindi na rin nya kayang makatayo ng magisa. Samantalang si Celedonia naman ay hindi na makakita dahil sa kanyang katarata.

Pare pareho na kaming matanda at magisa sa buhay. Lahat pa kami walang regular na hanapbuhay. Dati gumagawa ako ng walis pero ngayon hindi ko na kaya.

Pero sa kabila ng mga ito, hindi ako sumuko sa pag-aalaga sa magkapatid  na sina Lourdes at Celedonia.

Ako ang tumutulong sa kanila tuwing may sakit sila. Tumatakbo ako sa hospital upang makakuha ng gamut at tulong. Pinagluluto ko rin sila at pinagiigib ng tubig.  Sinasakay ko rin sila sa traysikul kapag pupunta sila sa bayan. Lahat lahat ginagawa ko upang alagaan ko sila.

Noon, sobrang hirap talagang harapin ng bawat araw na darating.  Ang dilim ng buhay. Minsan gusto ko na ring bumigay pero hindi pwede dahil mahal na mahal ko sina Lourdes at Celedonia.

Kaya laking pasasalamat ko ng dumating ang Social Pension sa aming buhay noong 2015.

Lumiwanag at gumaan talaga ang buhay namin noon.

Malaking tulong ang P500.00 na binibigay nila sa amin. Nakabili na po ako ng desenteng pagkain… ng isda, ng bigas at nakabili na rin po ako ng gamut.

Naparepair ko na rin po itong bahay ko. Hindi na po ako masyadong nangangamba sa tuwing may bagyo o sakunang sasalanta sa amin.

Mas naalagaan ko rin po sina Lourdes at Celedonia. Sabay sabay po kaming pumupunta sa bayan upang kumuha ng payout. Inaalalayan ko po sila dahil medyo mahina na nga ang kanilang pangangatawan.

Sobra sobrang nagpapasalamat po ako sa Social Pension dahil laking tulong na nabigay nila sa amin. Binigyan po nila kami ng pagasa at rason upang maging maligaya at maginahawa.

Higit sa lahat po, nagpapasalamat po ako sa Ginoo dahil sa biyaya ng buhay at pagmamahal.  Hindi po niya kami pinabayaan kahit anong sigalot po ang kinaharap na naming.

Ang hiling ko nalang po ngayon, sana wag na muna akong kunin ng Ginoo dahil iniisip ko po, wala ng mag-aalaga kina Lourdes at Celedonia. Ako lang ang kanilang maaasahan. Mahal na mahal ko po sila. Sana humaba ang buhay namin.

Ako po si Luisa Maduro Tome, 77 taong gulang, Social Pension Beneficiary ng Capacalan Romblon Romblon.

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SMU MIMAROPA conducts Crisis Comm Training for RMDC Members

Social Marketing Unit of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) MIMAROPA conducted a Crisis Communication and Handling Media Interviews Training Workshop for Regional Management Development Conference (RMDC) Officers at A Venue Hotel Makati City.

Joseph Rick C. Cataan, executive producer of CNN Philippines, shared his knowledge and expertise about crisis management, communication protocol and media handling to RMDC officers.

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Ulirang Nakatatanda sa MIMAROPA, pinarangalan ng DSWD

MALATE, Manila – Bilang pagpapaigting ng adbokasiya para sa mga senior citizens, binigyang pugay ng Department of Social Welfare and Development – Social Pension Program ang mga Ulirang Nakatatanda sa MIMAROPA, ika-10 Nobyembre 2017.

Nagwagi si Josefa M. Leal ng Mogpog Marinduque sa Basic Category; Corazon C. Manalo, Calapan Oriental Mindoro sa professional category; Luzicita F. Fabella, Odiongan Romblon sa government category at BSMSCA Ornamental Shell Souvenirs Project, Puerto Princesa City Palawan para sa group category.

Gayunpaman, pinarangalan pa rin ang mga runner up sa iba’t ibang kategorya. Hinirang na runner up si Nelia M. Venturillo, Aborlan Palawan para sa basic category; Carmelita M. Patiño, Pinamalayan Oriental Mindoro para sa Professional Category at Carmelita Q. Gaud, Victoria Oriental Mindoro para sa government category.

Ang Ulirang Nakatatanda Awards ay isang patimpalak na naglalayong kilalanin ang mga pagsisikap ng mga senior citizens na palawigin ang adbokasiya para nakatatanda at at parangalan ang kanilang pagiging modelo at inspirasyon sa aktibong pagpapaunlad ng pamilya at komunidad.

“Mahalagang ipagdiwang, palawakin, at ipagpugay natin ang kaunlaran ng sektor ng mga nakatatanda dahil malaki ang kanilang kontribusyon sa ating komunidad,” ika ni DSWD MIMAROPA Regional Director Wilma D. Naviamos

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DSWD Kalahi CIDSS at ADB bumisita sa mga Mangayan sa Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro

Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro—Nagsagawa ng IP exernal monitoring ang Asian Development Bank (ADB) sa mga Katutubong Mangyan sa bayan ng Magsaysay Kanlurang Mindoro noong ika 20-26 ng Nobyembre, taong kasalukuyan. Layunin ng nasabing pagbisita ang pag titiyak na nakikilahok ang mga kapatid na katutubong Mangyan sa mga gawain ng Kalahi CIDSS. Kasama ang deligasyon mula sa Area Coordinating Team (ACT), Regional Program Management Office (RPMO) ng Kalahi CIDSS, at Si Gng. Jane Austria-Young mula sa ADB ay nagsagawa ng mga pagpupulong at pakikipag talakayan sa mga IP Community Volunteers ng Kalahi CIDSS sa Magsaysay, mga punong barangay, at mga Tribal leaders o mas kilala sa tawag na Gurangon mula sa mga tribo ng Hanonoo, Gubatnon, at Ratagnon.

Nagbigay ng pambungad na pagbati si AC Rosalie Frane sa mga mamamayan ng Paclolo sa kanilang pagbisita sa Barangay para sa ADB IP external monitoring visit

Nagsagawa ng Focus Group Discussion si Gng. Austria-Young sa mga katutubong Mangyan upang makuha ang kanilang saloobin sa pagpapatupad ng programang Kalahi CIDSS sa kanilang pamayanan at kung paano sila nakikibahagi dito. Inilahad ng mga katutubong Mangyan ang kanilang kasaysayan at kung paano nila inorganisa ang kanilang pamayanan upang marinig ang kanilang boses at maisulong ang kanilang pangangailangan sa tribo.

Bumisita rin ang deligasyon sa Barangay Paclolo kung nasaan ang mga katutubong Hanonoo Mangayan. Nagsagawa ng Focus Group Disussion sa mga Community Volunteer, mga katutubong mangyan kasama ang mga opisyales ng Barangay Paclolo. Inilahad nila ang kanilang pasasalamat sa DSWD Kalahi CIDSS dahil sa nabigyan sila ng pagkakataon na ma-organisa at maisulong ang kanilang mithiin na magkaroon ang mga katutubo ng isang lugar tipunan na kung tawagin nila ay Balay Tirigsunan at malagyan ng karatula ang palibot ng kanilang lupaing ninuno.

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Pantawid MIMAROPA child grantee is National Exemplary Child 2017

Arah, National Exemplary Child 2017, together with DSWD Turalde, Pantawid Dir. Reynoso, and CWC Exec Dir. Luna

MALATE, Manila – The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program-MIMAROPA child grantee from Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro was selected as this year’s grand winner of the National Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children 2017.

Grade 8 student Jecille Arah M. Costales of Calintaan National High School won P30,000.00 and received a plaque awarded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Malou Jarabe-Turalde, Pantawid Pamilya National Program Manager Dir. Leonardo Reynoso, and CWC Executive Director Patricia Luna on November 18, 2017 at the SM North EDSA Skydome.

From the 16 children representatives from different regions, Arah bested the panel interview, talent portion, and question and answer portion. The consistent honor student captured the hearts of her audience when she performed her talent as she delivered a monologue dedicated for the Batangan-Mangyan.

Other top 5 finalists include Erickson Bersamira from CAR, who was the competition’s 1st Runner-up, while Jopay Pelayo from Region VI served as the 2nd Runner-up. Kenneth Bardinas from Region XI was awarded as the 3rd Runner-up, followed by Cienna Charris Igano of NCR.

The Search was the highlight of the National Children’s Congress a gathering of regional winners of the Search, organized by the DSWD.

Arah was chosen among the nominees of the Search for his excellent leadership skills and talent. During the congress, she was one of the most active participants, giving her voice on various issues of the community.

The 6th among the seven children of Leonardo and Jonjiema Costales, Arah shared that her dream is to become a successful Certified Public Accountant someday. According to her, once she graduates, she will not stop there. She wants to help other poor people like her in pursuing their dreams.

“Gusto ko pong makatulong sa mga kapwa ko mahihirap. Gusto ko pong mainsipire sila sa journey ko sa buhay para hindi po sila tumigil sa paglaban sa hirap ng buhay,” Arah said.

For a child with big dreams, Arah vows to do everything to make it big one day.

The Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children is an annual event organized by the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. It recognizes 10-14 year-old program beneficiaries who have set excellent examples at home, in school, and in the community.  ###

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PYAP Emergency Response Training isinagawa sa Camp Aguinaldo

QUEZON CITY – Nagsanay ang 25 opisyales at miyembro ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) MIMAROPA at Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines Inc. (PYAP) sa Emergency Response na hango sa konsepto ng Disaster Trauma sa Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Layunin ng nasabing training na paigtingin ang kaalaman, kasanayan at kapasidad ng mga kalahok sa pagsasagawa ng iba’t ibang response procedures sa waterborne search, high angle rescue operation, rope and collapsed structure resuce at emergency procedure.

“Ang dami ko pong natutunan sa aming training. Nalaman ko po kung papaano ko ililigtas ang aking sarili at ang aking kapwa sa iba’t ibang klase ng sakuna. Sana mas marami pang makapagsanay sa rescue operation,” ayon kay Irish C. Villarin, Social Welfare Officer I ng Disaster Management Unit.

Ang mga kalahok ay nagsanay sa ilalim ng RESCUE RECON. Ito ay isang joint task force ng National Capital Region Camp Aguinaldo Armed Forces of the Philippines Emergency Response Team na nagpapa ng mga trained rescuers sa buong bansa. Sa ngayon, sila ay nagawaran na ng seal ng Royal Institute of Singapore in Emergency Rescue Service.

Hinahangad ng PYAP at DSWD na sa pamamagitan ng training na ito mas maging handa ang mga kalahok sa pagharap sa mga darating na sakuna at maging instrument sila upang makatulong sa pagsagip sa kapwa.

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MAT-Bansud nagsagawa ng IP Family Day

Nagsama-sama ang mga IPs ng Bansud sa IP Family Day cum Consultation Dialogue sa pangunguna ng MAT-Bansud. (Photo grabbed from MAT-leader Darleen Lolong)

BANSUD, Oriental Mindoro – Nagsagawa ng  Family Day para sa mga katutubong benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program sa Bansud, Oriental Mindoro ang Municipal Action Team (MAT) ng Bansud kasabay ng kanilang Consultation Dialogue noong Nobyembre 6, 2017.

Dinaluhan ng mahigit 400 na katutubo mula sa barangay Bato, Conrazon, Malo, Manihala, Pag-asa, Rosacara, at Villa Pag-Asa ang isang buong araw na aktibidad na dinaos sa Bansud Gymnasium. Pinangunahan ng MAT leader na si Darleen Lolong ang aktibidad sa tulong ng Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer na si Violeta Nazareno.

“Malaki ang tulong ng 4Ps sa inyong mga katutubo. Kaya kinakailangan na lagi kayong makipagcooperate para mas matulungan pa namin kayo,” sabi ni Honorable Mayor Angel M. Saulong na dumalo rin sa aktibidad upang magbigay ng mensahe para sa mga katutubo.

Katuwang ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Bansud, ang aktibidad ay naglalayong magkaroon ng participative at interactive na diskusyon ang mga dumalo tungkol sa kani-kanilang mga karanasan sa programa. Layunin din nito na magbigay ng update sa programa at magpalaganap ng adbokasiya para sa mga karapatan ng mga katutubo.

Napuno ang unang programa ng diskusyon ukol sa pagrerehistro ng mga katutubo alinsunod sa Administrative Order no. 3 series of 2004 na pinangunahan ng Acting Municipal Civil Registrar Melca Tolentino. Sinundan ito ng diskusyon tungkol sa Responsible Parenthood na ipinaliwanag ni Nelly Lusterio, Midwife III ng Municipal Health Office (MHO) ng Bansud. Si Mary Grace Adarlo, Medtech ng MHO, ang nagbigay naman ng impormasyon tungkol sa wastong pangangalaga ng kalusugan. Bukod pa rito, nagbigay din ng pagpapaliwanag ang Philippine National Police (PNP) sa pangunguna ni PO1 Dasiree Soldevilla at PO2Melvin Castillo tungkol sa RA 7610 o Anti-Child Abuse Law.

Matapos ang mga diskusyon ay nagpainom naman ng gamot ang Department of Health (DOH) para sa mga matatanda at bata upang makaiwas sa filariasis na karaniwan sa mga katutubo ng Bansud.

Ang pangalawang parte ng programa ay binuo naman ng kasiyahan sa pamamagitan ng iba’t ibang mga palaro para sa mga benepisyaryo mula sa iba’t ibang barangay. Nagbigay rin ng mga gamit pang-eskwelahan at mga proper hygiene kit para sa mga batang dumalo.

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Big Dreams Start Within

Among the crowd, one may barely notice a small, petite girl from a small town of Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro.

But when she opens her mouth and starts sharing her ideas and dreams with her radiating, bright eyes, hearts of many people are captivated.

Having experienced poverty at a young age, Jecille Arah M. Costales is aware of the difficulties in life which have led her to become emphatic towards other people and to dream not only for herself but also for her community.

For a small girl with big dreams, this 13-year-old believes that being equipped with knowledge and learnings can help her achieve her goals not only for herself, but for her whole community as well.

This motivates her to study harder.

Right after getting home, Jecille Arah M. Costales once again opens her textbook to review another topic yet to be discussed for tomorrow’s lecture.

Even if she had already spent almost 12 hours at school, it does not stop her in quenching her thirst for learning. She goes to school at 6 in the morning so she cannot be late in their 7am schedule. Since she is in the Science class, she takes advance classes which ends past 6 in the evening. Going to school early in the morning and going home late, Arah continues to study at home.

Little did she know that with her determination and willpower, she is becoming an inspiration to many from her little barangay.

 

A Product of Love and Hard Work

Arah comes from humble roots. Both of her parents were only able to finish 2nd year high school due to poverty. This sad reality has motivated them to work hard and be able to provide the needs of their children and help them finish their studies.

“Bilang hindi po kami nakapagtapos ng asawa ko, nagpupursige talaga kami na mapag-aral sila kahit salat kami sa buhay. Kung ano man ang hindi namin natapos, gusto sana namin na sila na lang ang magpatuloy,” said Nanay Jonjiema, Arah’s mother.

Arah is the sixth child of Nanay Jonjiema and Tatay Leonardo, both 45 years old, who started their family at a young age.

 

The eldest child, Geraldine Joy, is now a mother of two at 27 years old. Her ability to serve their community helped her to obtain a position in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) in their barangay. Through the help of the scholarship she received during her term, she was able to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Management Accounting at Occidental Mindoro State College. Before being pregnant to her 2nd child, Arah works and lives in Batangas with her husband. In order to focus more with her children, she gets back to Mindoro to her parents and siblings while her husband stayed in Batangas for work.

“Isa po talaga sa mga inspirasyon ko ay ang ate ko. Gusto ko rin po na makatulong ako sa komunidad ko habang nag-aaral po nang mabuti,” shared Arah. Like her sister, Arah has a strong determination to finish her studies to be able to help their family and their community.

But among the three children of Nanay Jonjiema and Tatay Leonardo who studied in college, only Geraldine Joy was able to graduate. During her undergraduate years, Jerwin and Leojay, the 2nd and 3rd child respectively, were already studying in college as well. Jerwin was taking up his bachelor’s degree in Criminology, while Leojay was studying Information Technology. Meanwhile, Mark Jayson and Von Janrrell, the 4th and 5th child, were already in elementary, while Arah was starting school in a Day Care Center in their barangay.

That time, it was hard for Tatay Leonardo, who works as a jeepney driver to support all his children who were going to school all at the same time. In order to at least help with their family’s expenses, Jerwin and Leojay works in the farm during harvest and planting season. They save what they earn through planting and drying of rice for their allowance.

Jerwin and Leojay knew that their father’s income will not be enough for his growing family’s needs. Hence, at 17 years old, Jerwin grabbed the opportunity to go to Manila to work for his aunt to be able to help his family, while Leojay stopped schooling to look for work in Batangas.

“Masakit po para sa amin noon na lumayo pa ang mga anak ko para lang magtrabaho para makatulong sa amin. Kahit gusting-gusto namin na makapagtapos silang lahat sa pag-aaral, nakakalungkot na dahil sa hirap ng buhay, hindi namin magawa iyon,” narrated Nanay Jonjiema. Currently, Jerwin has his own family in Manila, while Leojay is working as a factory worker in Batangas.

At this point, Arah at her young age understands their family’s plight.

“Nag-aaral po talaga ako nang mabuti para sa pamilya ko dahil gusto ko pong umahon kami sa kahirapan. Dahil nasa high school na po sila kuya Jayson at Janrell at nasa elementary po kami ni Aleah, pangarap po naming lahat na pare-pareho kaming makapagtapos ng pag-aaral kaya pare-pareho rin po kaming nagtutulungan,” she said.

Even though Arah is second to the youngest in the family, she sometimes helps her brothers and sister with their lessons since she had already advance knowledge with some of her subjects. Arah knows from their past that it was hard for their parents to finance their schooling especially when they reach college, that is why she study hard so that she can apply for a scholarship after high school.

Nanay Jonjiema and Tatay Leonardo are both proud of their daughter’s commitment to work for the achievement of her dreams. Her dream that she shares with her family is what keeps her going despite all the challenges they face.

“Hindi niya ikinakahiya ang aming kalagayan sa buhay sa halip po ay gingawa niya itong inspirasyon na magpursige upang makatulong at mapabuti ang aming pamilya,” she added while trying to keep her voice still to refrain herself from crying.

Aside from being a responsible student, Nanay Jonjiema said that Arah is also a responsible daughter at home.

 

“Mapalad po ako sa pagkakaroon ng anak na katulad ni Arah sapagkat responsable po talaga siyang anak,” said Nanay Jonjiema when asked about her daughter. After studying, Arah helps her mother prepare for their dinner or clean the house.

“Mahilig po akong magluto din. Ang favorite ko pong lutuin ay chopsuey at ginisang ampalaya,” Arah said. She also takes care with her nephews when her Ate Geraldine Joy is not around.

Despite all of their hardships in life, Arah never forgets to be a child. She also loves to play games.

“Minsan po, hindi lang naman po ako laging nag-aaral. Naglalaro rin po ako kasama ng mga kapatid at kaklase ko. Pero mga board games po madalas nilalaro naming kagaya ng scrabble at chess,” Arah shared. Given a second-hand phone by her aunt, she also loves to play phone games such as Candy Crush, Hotel Story, and High School Story.

Even though she likes studying, Arah also finds happiness when she gets to play with her siblings, classmates, and friends.

 

A Ray of Hope

It was in 2013 that her family became one of the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Arah, Janrell, and Jayson became student grantees of the program which greatly helped them in financing their

school needs.

“Ayaw naman po naming na maulit pa yung nangyari sa dalawa naming anak na hindi nakapagtapos kaya talagang kumakayod ako sa pagtatrabaho para sa pag-aaral ng anak naming pero minsan talagang kulang,” said Tatay Leonardo. “Kaya nung dumating po talaga ang Pantawid, para bang nabuhayan kami lalo at napaisip na kakayanin na namin na mapagtapos ng pag-aaral ang mga anak namin,” continued Nanay Jonjiema. According to Nanay Jonjiema, before being a beneficiary of the program they lend money to their neighbors and friends just to be able to put up with their financial shortage.

“Malaki po talaga ang pasasalamat ko sa Pantawid kasi po hindi na po kami masyadong namomroblema lalo na po sa pinansyal na pangangailangan namin sa araw araw at sa pag aaral naming magkakapatid,” Arah explained. The cash grant that they are receiving helps Arah in her expenses whenever she participates in different regional or provincial competitions.

“Hindi lamang po sa pag aaral at ang pinansyal na pangangailangan ang naitutulong sa amin ng Pantawid Pamilya dahil po marami din po kaming natututunan na nagagamit din po namin sa pagpapaunlad ng buhay tulad po ng mga kaalamang natututunan sa FDS ng aking magulang, sa YDS naming magkakapatid at iba pa pong mga Gawagn ng Pantawid Pamilya,” she shared with a smile.

According to Arah, even though they are being helped by the program to fight poverty, she strongly believes that hard work is still essential in order for them to succeed in life. “Dahil nga po natutulungan na kami ng programa sa pag-aaral namin, ayaw ko naman po itong samantalahin kaya gusto ko rin pong makapagtapos ng pag-aaral para maibalik ko rin po o maibahagi sa iba at sa komunidad ko kung anong tulong ang naibigay sa akin,” she said.

 

An Inspiration to Others

At her young age, Arah is known by her teachers and neighbors as a model of good character.

“Isang huwarang bata si Arah. Siya ay palakaibigan at aktibo sa mga activity ng simbahan. Sa katunayan, nagsilbi syang “altar server” dito sa simbahan at nanguna sa paglilinis at paggawa ng dekorasyon sa tuwing may okasyon. Siya rin ang naghihikayat sa mga kapwa kabataan na maging aktibo sa mga gawaing pansimbahan,” shared Nelia D. Isidro, a neighbor who has known Arah since she’s a newborn. Arah believes that she should always have a trust in God and always be thankful for Him for all the blessing she receives.

Her current class adviser, Ms. Luzaida Monteallegre testified that Arah is more than just a bright girl.

“Bilang kanyang adviser, nakikita kong malayo ang mararating ng batang ito dahil sa sipag at tiyaga na ipinipamalas niya. Isa siyang magandang halimbawa sa mga mag aaral lalo’t higit sa katulad niyang kapus,” Ms. Monteallegre said.

Arah also gains the admiration of her classmates with her determination and perseverance to finish her studies despite their financial condition.

“Nakakatuwa nga na yung mga kaklase nya, nakikinig talaga sa kaniya kasi madalas nagpapaturo sa kaniya yung mga kaklase nya,” Ms. Monteallegre added. Since Arah has advanced knowledge with their lessons, she is sometimes asked to teach whenever their teacher is in a meeting. Because of this, she is called “little teacher” in school.

Arah is seen to be a good influence to her classmates, especially in her circle of friends. Ms. Monteallegre also shared that more than being a diligent student, Arah is also active in different school activities which has encouraged her friends to also join in them.

“President po ako sa klase namin sa Grade 8, tapos po SSG Officer din po ako bilang Grade 8 representative. Vice President din po ako ng Science Club namin at Peace Officer naman po sa English Club. Bukod po dun, active member din po ako ng Girl Scout,” Arah said. She is also their class’ top student and champion in different school competitions such as Essay Literacy Revo and Math Quiz Bee.

Aside from different school activities, Arah is also active in community activities such as coastal clean-up, tree planting, and different relief good operation drive in their barangay.

Further, Arah is also becoming an inspiration to her fellow Pantawid Pamilya grantees.

“Bilang isang miyembro ng programa ng Pantawid, lubos akong humahanga kay ate Arah dahil sa kahusayan niya at talino. Dahil sa kanya, naisip kong hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para maging magaling at manguna sa klase. Nais ko ring maging katulad ni ate Arah na kung saan kinikilala ang kanyang galing,” said Nicol Kate Rubite, 11, one of Arah’s friends.

For Arah, being a good daughter, sibling and student makes her less of a burden to her parents as well as the rest of the community.

 

Small girl’s dream

Dreaming big is always Arah’s way. She dreams for herself, for her family, and for her community.

“Hindi naman po masama ang mangarap nang malaki. Itong mga pangarap ko pong ito sa buhay ang nagbibigay sa aking ng motivation para po lagi lang magpatuloy kahit po mahirap talaga ang buhay,” Arah explained.

Even with her youth, Arah has concrete ways to achieve her dreams for herself and for her family.

“Sampung taon po mula ngayon, naiimagine ko po ang sarili ko na nakasuot na nung parang fit na palda tapos coat. Nagtatrabaho po ako sa Maynila sa isang malaking accounting firm bilang isang mahusay na accountant na isa nang CPA. Tsaka po bukod doon, may sarili na po kaming bahay sa Camella Homes,” said Arah giddily with her eyes sparkling.

According to her, once she graduates, she will not stop there. She wants to help other poor people like her in pursuing their dreams.

“Gusto ko pong makatulong sa mga kapwa ko mahihirap. Gusto ko pong mainsipire sila sa journey ko sa buhay para hindi po sila tumigil sa paglaban sa hirap ng buhay,” Arah said.

For her community, she dreams of a peaceful and fully-developed country. “Gusto ko rin po na magkaroon ng isang bansa na walang gulo, organisado, at may maayos na sistema ng pamumuhay ang mga tao,” she explained.

“Bukod pa po doon, hindi lang po sana yung mga kagaya nating nasa Kapatagan ang natutulungan kundi pati na rin po ang mga kapatid nating mga katutubo,” Arah added. She has a desire to help those members of the Indigenous Peoples who are being deprived of access to good quality of education. Arah uses her talents and abilities in acting and writing to speak up for the underprivileged sector of the society through different competitions she participates. But when she grows up, she wanted to help them more.

Arah knows that she has a long way to go in reaching all of her dreams.

She believes that education is her key towards achieving them. The 77 medals and certificates she already obtained today are just mere metals and papers reminding her that this is only the start of her journey in life.

For a child with big dreams, Arah vows to do everything to make it big one day. ###

Jecille Arah M. Costales is the winner of the Regional Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children 2017 MIMAROPA, conducted on October 13, 2017 at Best Western Hotel. She will represent the region in the National Search to commence on November 13-17, 2017 in Manila.

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