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Sama-samang pag-abot sa mga Katutubo ng Kabanaw

Pinamalayan, Occidental Mindoro – The Pinamalayan Convergence Team composed of the different field staff from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program for IP, and Sustainable Livelihood Program Staff  of the Department of Welfare and Development Field Office MIMAROPA  celebrated the Indigenous Peoples Month through an outreach program as their Convergence Initiative held in Sitio Kabanaw, Brgy. Marayos, Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro on October 26, 2018.

The team tapped possible agencies and individuals to gather donations to be brought to farthest part of the mountain where the small tribe can be found. Many helping hands extended their help which made the convergence initiative possible.

The day started early for the team as they had reached Brgy. Marayos six in the morning as they look forward for what lies ahead in the community to be visited. They spent almost two hours of walking and trekking on the muddy and steep road before reaching their target area.

It was exactly 8:00 AM when they reached the Kabanaw IP community. They were welcomed with greetings and innocent smiles of the children which were already waiting for them.

As soon as the group reached the community, the barangay captain together with the tribal leader and other volunteers started calling all of the residents to formally start the program and welcome the team. The barangay captain rendered the welcome remarks and appreciated the efforts of the team for initiating such activity for the indigenous people. Brief discussion on Disaster Preparedness was being discussed by Municipal Link Regina Dela Pena and ways on how to properly plant different vegetables was shared by Sustainable Livelihood Program PDO-II Mark Gil Aban.

Profiling of Households was conducted by Municipal Links Rhonalee Carle, Mylene Espino and Jennifer Galan, Social Welfare Assistant John Paolo Mendoza and Municipal Roving Book Keeper Verna Divina. The compiled Household Profiling will be sent to possible partners for further interventions needed by the community.

While the parents are busy in the conduct of the interview for household profiling, Municipal Links Regina Dela Pena, Melani Joy Tabernero, SLP PDO-II Geanie Goco, Mark Aban, Carlo Marasigan and MCCT PDO-II Haniely Rey facilitated the parlor games with the IP children.

The donations collected by the team were distributed after the conduct of the discussion and were also used as prizes for the winning teams of the games.

True to its objectives, the activity was able to provide knowledge to the IP beneficiaries on the program’s processes and other topics which can help them in uplifting their lives. It also provided an avenue to the beneficiaries to break away from their normal routine from working in the fields and provide them supplies and materials which they can use.

At the end of the activity, the IP beneficiaries of Sitio Kabanaw bid farewell to the team and to the volunteers who participated the event with smile on their faces signifying the success of the convergence initiative. ###

 

Submitted by: Pinamalayan Convergence Team

 

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Listahanan MIMAROPA wagi sa 29th NSM statistical exhibit

Tinanggap ni Jennel Maquiñana ng DSWD Listahanan ang certificate of recognition mula sa mga opisyales ng PSA MIMAROPA.

CALAPAN CITY-  Tumanggap ng pagkilala ang DSWD MIMAROPA mula sa Philippine Statistics Authority o PSA MIMAROPA bilang nanguna sa patimpalak sa statistical exhibit  bilang bahagi ng 29th National Statistics Month (NSM) kahapon, Oktubre 27.

Ipinakita ng DSWD ang mga estadistika ukol sa mga mahihirap na sambahayan o profile of the poor sa rehiyon  na nakalap ng Listahanan sa isinagawang 2015 Household Assessment.  Ayon sa nasabing talaan, umabot sa 584,562 ang kabuang bilang ng sambahayang sa limang probinsya ang natasa. Mula sa bilang na ito, 221,324 o 37.9 porsyento ng mga sambahayan ang natukoy na mahihirap.

Ang nasabing pagkilala ay iginawad kahapon bilang opisyal na pagtatapos ng selebrasyon ng statistics month.

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4Ps Exemplary Child MIMAROPA 2018 is from Occidental Mindoro

 

Malate, Manila – Adeli D. Tan from Rizal Occidental Mindoro was awarded as the winner of the Regional Search for Exemplary Children, on October 22, 2018 at Greenhills Elan Hotel Modern, San Juan City, Manila.

Ada, as she is fondly called by her family and friends, is a responsible child to her parents, an active member of the student body in their school, and a helpful citizen of their community. She is known for her simple act of kindness which create great amount of good to others.

During Typhoon Josie which caused flood in their neighborhood, Ada exerted effort to help families who were affected by starting a donation drive in school. Their house was also flooded but she chose to help even in a simple way. Currently at Grade 9 in Rizal National High School, Ada desires to help other people in need because according to her, there is a positive feeling when she do things that make other people happy. This feeling inspires her more to strive hard and finish her studies so that one day, she can help more people.

Ada, like other children, is a dreamer. She dreams of having a house made of stone for her family to live in in the future. She dreams of finishing her studies and becoming a bank employee, dressing up in a corporate attire.

She also dreams for her community to be peaceful, free from harm and violence for the children, has a clean environment, and where all people lives harmoniously. She dreams to help other people in need as long as she can give so that everyone in her community can uplift their lives. According to her, “hindi ko sila matutulungan ng pinansyal, pero balang-araw, kapag ako ay nakapagtapos, matutulungan ko sila. Sa ngayon, ang magagawa ko ay hikayatin ang mga kabataan na lumaban sa kahirapan para maisip nila ‘yung mangyayari sa future kapag positive lang ang ginagawa nila.”

Other winners of the Search include Amie S. Cabanig from Roxas, Palawan as the 1st runner-up, followed by Danica M. Aquino or Naujan, Oriental Mindoro as the 2nd runner-up. Laudeline John G. Evangelio of Odiongan Romblon was awarded as the 3rd runner-up, while Bhea Laura J. Enero was the 4th runner-up.

Ada will compete in the National Search on November 26 as part of the National Children’s Congress with the theme “Bata Magkaisa, Tungo sa Bayang Mapagkalinga”.

Adeli will serve as an advocate of the program in inspiring other children beneficiaries and signifying as a living proof on how the program has helped in building the future of its children beneficiaries through its services. ###

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Organic Farming BIG: small steps toward family development and sustainability

Resource Speaker Jerwin Jake Pamanilay (blue-green shirt) with the participants from Poblacion and Tangkalan during the simulation of the Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ) concoction at the Training on Organic Farming; Bio- Intensive Gardening on October 11, 2018 at the Balansay Gym

Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro – Two hundred partner beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office MIMAROPA from the different barangays in the Municipality of Mamburao attended the training on Organic Farming focusing on Bio- Intensive Gardening held at the Balansay Gymnasium, Barangay Balansay. The activity was organized by the Municipal Action Team (MAT) of Mamburao in coordination with the Local Government Unit of Mamburao, the Municipal Agriculture Office, the Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro, and the Provincial Agriculture Office on October 11-12, 2018.

The Department periodically conducts assessments on the impact of the Program to the partner beneficiaries, one of which is the Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI). The most recent SWDI was administered last 2015 where out of 1, 851 assessed households in the Municipality, there were 849 households under level 2 on the indicator of employable skills (ES), meaning, they have employable skills but are not duly recognized by authorities. These household beneficiaries derived their skills from non-formal and informal trainings.

Lack of employable skills of the adult household members may adversely affect the economic and financial status of the family, thus, to augment the skills of the concerned households under SWDI ES level 2, the Municipal Action Team of Mamburao organized a skills training where the participants would be taught relevant tips on organic farming and bio-intensive gardening. These tips may be applied in their backyard, communal and container gardening which may bring the family additional income.

The training started with the preliminaries facilitated by the MAT members of Mamburao followed by the introduction of the first speaker Ms. Floreda Rosales, who discussed the basics of Organic Farming and Bio-Intensive Gardening. Her topics include Land Preparation, Seedling Preparation, Propagation and Transplanting, Weeding, Fertilizer Application and Harvesting.

After her discussion and all questions raised were answered, her partner, Mr. Jerwin Jake Pamanilay explained the preparation of the different concoctions which will be used in organic farming. Then he invited the participants per barangay to simulate the preparation of the ingredients they brought for a specific concoction. Poblacion prepared the fermented plant juice (FPJ), Balansay for the fermented fruit juice (FFJ), Payompon and Tayamaan for Oriental Herbal Nutrients (OHN) while the rest of the barangays helped assisted in each simulation including the preparation of the Calcium Phosphate (CAL-PHOS).

After all the simulations, a commitment setting was done where the participants met per barangay and decided what kind of garden they will be doing individually, per sitio, or per barangay. Their plan also includes a monitoring process and evaluation where the best and most productive garden will be decided upon by judges on December 2018 and with prize to be lobbied by the training team.

To culminate the activity, each were given a tamarind, coffee, and pomelo seedlings.

The participants expressed their gratitude and appreciation of the activity which further enhanced their knowledge and skills on organic farming and bio-intensive gardening.

“Ang mga seedling na ito ay aming itatanim, palalaguin at aalagaan hanggang sila ay magbunga katulad ng pagbunga ng Programa sa bawat isang Pamilyang tinutulungan nito”, words of commitment of parent leader Susima Vilbes of Fatima.###

 

Submitted by: Elizabeth P. Safilo

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Pagsaulog 2018: A Fusion of Culture, Volunteerism and Collective Action

Malate, Manila—The 2nd National Community Volunteers’ Congress and 4th National Bayani Ka Awards was successfully conducted last October 2-4, 2018 in Cebu City. It was attended by at least 260 community volunteers of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS and Local Government Unit (LGU) officials from across the country. The event’s theme is “Pagsaulog” a Visayan word which means festivity or celebration. This occasion celebrated the the noteworthy contribution of the Community Volunteers towards the success of the Kalahi-CIDSS program. More so, the occasion hailed the exemplary Kalahi-CIDSS Operation and Maintenance (O&M) groups that were awarded as “Bayani” during each region’s Regional Bayani Ka! Awards. These groups were awarded the prestigious Bayani Ka Award because of their remarkable ways of mobilizing their communities towards a collective community action.

The participants were welcomed by DSWD Field Office 7 Assistant Regional Director for Operations (ARDO) Shalaine Lucero. ARDO Lucero mentioned in her speech the importance of the Community Volunteers in Kalahi-CIDSS. “Walang Kalahi-CIDSS kung wala ang mga masisipag na community volunteers” [There is no Kalahi-CIDSS without the industrious Community Volunteers]. ARDO Shalaine’s speech was followed by the presentation of the current state of the Kalahi-CIDSS program by the National Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Miss Abegail dela Cruz. This presentation was proceeded with the Communication Specialist Miss Maria Rosario Lagman’s presentation of the current status of Volunteerism in the Philippines. To conclude the first day of the activity, the participants were pampered with free massage and free nail care services courtesy of DSWD Field Office 7.

On the second day, the delegates were divided into three groups to visit the municipalities of Moalboal, Pinamungajan, and Dalaguete in Cebu. The field visit was conducted to serve as an avenue of exchange of knowledge between the community volunteers from the three visited Kalahi-CIDSS municipalities and the delegates of the National Community Volunteers’ Congress.

While the volunteers were on immersion, the LGU officials had an executive meeting with the Municipal Inter-Agency Committee of their visited municipalities. They shared their ideas and strategies on how Community-Driven Development (CDD) could be institutionalized in their respective municipalities.

The volunteers had sessions where they shared their knowledge on their project implementation techniques. They also had discussions about the opportunities given to them because of their involvement with the Kalahi-CIDSS program. Before returning to Cebu City to complete their field visit, the participants went to different sub-project sites in their visited municipalities.

On the last day of the activity, the participants had an open forum on their field immersion with the Community Volunteers from Cebu. The participants shared their learning and their insights. They also committed to share these learning and insights to their co-volunteers once they return to their communities.

In the evening of the last day of Pagsaulog2018, the notable volunteer groups were hailed and honored on the 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards. Almost 106 volunteer groups from nine award categories were honored. ###

 

 

The SAMAMAKAY Organization from Torrijos Marinduque accepts their development incentive prize as one of the winners under the Gender and Development category during the 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards

 

The Sitio Calusa Community Water Tank Sanitation Association from Cagayancillo, Palawan (as represented by their mayor Hon. Lourde Lanoy) receives their award as one of the winners under the Indegenous People’s Welfare category during the 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards

 

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“Mas ligtas ang may alam”: pagsasanay sa mga benepisyaryo para sa Emergency First Aid and Basic Life Support

Naujan, Oriental Mindoro – Dalawang daan apatnapu at apat (244) na parent leader ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ng Naujan ang lumahok sa dalawang araw na Emergency First Aid and Basic Life Suport training na ginanap noong Oktubre 1-2, 2018 sa apat na makakaibang lugar sa bayan ng Naujan sa pakikipagtulungan ng Pantawid Pamilya, Red Cross at pamahalaang bayan ng Naujan.

Mas ligtas ang may alam” – ito ang inilahad ni Atty. Mark N. Marcos punong bayan ng Naujan sa kanyang paunang pananalita sa isa sa unang cluster training sa emergency first aid and Basic life support the ginanap sa Bahay Tuklasan noong Oktobre 1, 2018. Dahil sa mga nakaraang karanasan ng bayan ng Naujan dulot ng mga mapaminsalang bagyo, ay pinaigting ng punong bayan ang pagbibigay suporta sa mga programang disaster risk reduction program.

Sa pangunguna ng DSWD Municipal Action Team ng Bayan ng Naujan, kasama ang Guada De Leon Red Cross, Joey M. Geroleo, MDRRMO , at sa pamahalaang bayan ng Naujan ay isinagawa ang dalawang  araw na training para sa mga parent leaders ng Pantawid Pamilya upang sanayin sila sa Emegency First Aid at Basic Life Support. Layunin nitong magbigay ng kaalaman at kakayahan sa kanila upang maging kaagapay ng pamahalaang bayan sa pagliligtas at pagbibigay-alam tungkol sa mga gawaing makakatulong upang mabawasan ang pinsala ng mga darating na sakuna sa bawat barangay na kanilang nasasakupan.

Bukod sa kaalaman at kasanayan na kanilang natanggap ay magiging miyembro ng MDRRM coordinators ang mga parent leader upang maging mabilis ang pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa oras ng mga kalamidad at mga hindi inaasahang pangyayari sa kani-kanilang barangay.

Bukod dito, nagbigay ayuda din ang punong bayan na ang mga kalahok na parent leader ay mapasama sa one year accident insurance ng Red Cross. ###

 

Submitted by: Bernon A. Agleron

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DSWD MIMAROPA hosts Basic DRRM-CCA Concepts and Legal Frameworks and Mainstreaming DRR-CCA in the CEAC Process Training of Trainers

Puerto Princesa City Palawan— The regional technical specialists from Regions MIMAROPA, V, VI, and VII gathered for a five-day training seminar on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management – CCA last September 9-15, 2018 at Citystate Asturias Hotel in Puerto Princesa City Palawan.

The said training was hosted by DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS MIMAROPA and was attended by each of the region’s technical specialist starting from the regional community development specialist (RCDS), regional community infrastructure specialist (RCIS), regional financial analyst (RFA), regional capability building specialist (RCBS), and regional monitoring and evaluation specialist (RMES).

The first day of the training focused on the discussion on basic DRR-CCA concepts and topics on climate change. On the next day, the participants were introduced to the laws governing the DRR in the Philippines and further discussion on impact of climate change in the country on topics about Climate Change and impact to the environment and the communities. In the afternoon, the participants were taught how to create community basemap using the software QGIS.

On the third day, the participants were taught to use the InaSAFE feature of the QGIS software. This feature allowed the translation of data into a report. It was followed by the discussion of Dr. Jake Tio on Mainstreaming DRR in the Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) and the discussion of Ms. Fatima Marifosque on incorporating the DRR in Participatory Situational Analysis (PSA).

The participants went on an educational tour within the Puerto Princesa City wherein they conducted a teaching demonstration on all the concepts they were taught on the duration of the training. To conclude the training, the participants shared their thoughts on how to better incorporate DRR-CCA in the CEAC Cycle.

###

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A Family’s Secret to Happiness is Helping Others

Manuel Family ‘s secret to happiness is helping others who are in need

 

Ang mga Manuel ay talagang kilalang-kilala dito na malalapitan kapag nangailangan ka. Tulad ng pangangailangan sa mga gamot at school supplies dahil may mga kilala silang matataas na kinukunan. Ang anak ko ay nakadalawang beses nang nakatanggap ng school supplies sa kanila. Kahit nga sa tulong pinansyal ay natutulungan din kami kung minsan kahit sila din naman ay hirap sa buhay. Ang kanilang buong pamilya ay mababait talagaat wala din akong masabi sa kanilang mag-anak, nakasanayan na at malapit sila sa mga katutubo.  Sa totoo lang, wala kaming naririnig sa kanila na di maganda, kahit naman kwento din ng aming mga magulang ay walang masamang masabi sa kanilang pamilya,”

– Theodor Daguman, IP beneficiary from Sitio Kabanabahan

The Manuel family from Sitio Cuartero, Brgy. Casague, Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro, knows no boundaries in serving those who are in need. Helping the Mangyan tribe has been their mission for years, which strengthens the relationship of their family more.

They cross rivers and trek hilly terrains to extend their helping hand to the Mangyan communities in their neighboring sitios to educate them and inspire them to become better members of the community.

Yet, the Manuel family, themselves, do not live in prosperity.  Their family also belongs to the marginalized sector of the community working hard to get out of poverty.

But their status in life does not hinder their goal to help those people in need.

Alam po kasi namin yung pakiramdam nang naghihirap kaya tumutulong rin kami lalo na sa mga kababayan nating maliliit (katutubo) na mas nangangailangan pa (We know how it is being poor that’s why we tend to help those (indigenous) people who need greater help),” said Rolando Manuel, “pillar” of the home of the Manuel Family.

According to the family, one does not need to be wealthy to help other people.

Kung nagtatanim ka ng mabuting bagay sa kapwa mo lalo na sa mga mahihirap, may malaking bahagi rin yan na babalik. Hindi man natin sya makita nang agaran, sabi nga’y ‘ang mabuting binhi na itatanim mo sa kapwa mo ay sisibol din’ (If you do good to others especially those who are poor, good things will also return to you. We may not see it immediately, but as they, ‘you will reap what you sow’),” Rolando added.

True enough, while they are working towards uplifting their lives, the family makes sure that no one is left behind by providing assistance to other people in their community who is also in need of their help.

 

Compassion Starts at Home

The Manuel Family is mostly known for their assistance to the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in their community, specifically the Mangyans.

They make sure to extend help those who are in need even though, they, themselves, are also striving to improve their well-being.

Ang buhay namin ay pangkaraniwan lang din kagaya ng iba (Our life is also ordinary like others),” said Rolando.

Their family only depends on farming for their main source of income. Rolando was able to inherit a 1-hectare farm land which he utilizes for two cropping every year—palay for the main crop, and corn for the second crop. However, in the year 2000, the land was devastated by a typhoon which caused the river to flood their area leaving them with only half of their land. At present, the family acquires only P2,000.00 to P5,000.00 of income from the remaining land every harvest.

After the tragedy happened, Rosalie knew that it will be harder for them to finance the needs of their growing children. Hence, in order to help Rolando, she raised hogs which gives them at least P6,000.00 to P8,000.00 depending on the piglets to be sold. Meanwhile, to lessen the expenses of the family, Rosalie with her children created a backyard garden to plant vegetables for their personal consumption. They also raise native chicken which they sometimes sell or cook for their family.

Having six (6) children to support, Rolando and Rosalie make sacrifices in order for them to finance their needs. And as their children see their efforts and hardships, they work together to help their parents in overcoming the challenges in their family that life has to offer.

According to Jacqueline, the eldest child, even though they are poor, they study hard with the aim of helping their family get out of poverty.

“Bilang ako pa ang panganay, minsan hindi na ako nanghihingi ng allowance kina mama dahil alam kong wala namang ibibigay. Kaya ang ginagawa ko, pinaglalaba ko na lang mga kaklase ko para bigyan ako ng pagkain (Since I am the eldest, there were times when I don’t ask for allowance from my mother since I know that they don’t have anything to give. That’s why I do my classmate’s laundry in exchange for food),” Jacqueline narrated with teary eyes.

After years of hard work, Jacqueline acquired her Diploma in Midwifery and is now working as a Registered Midwife at the Municipal Health Office of Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro. Although she is now married and has a three-year old child, she still participates in her family’s activities in church and in helping the IPs.

Meanwhile, James, the 2nd child, said that even though life was really hard, their family stays happy and contented.

Noong nagkasabay kaming magcollege nung kapatid ko, sumasama ako sa mga nagtitinda ng rambutan para magbenta rin para magkapera kaming magkapatid pero okay lang yun kasi naiintindihan naman namin ang sitwasyon namin’ (When my sibling and I went to college at the same time, I sell rambutan so we can have money. But that’s okay, because we understand our situation),” he recounted.

James knows that their family cannot support both him and Dorothy, the 3rd child, in college, so he decided to quit studying Maritime Engineering to help their father cultivate their farm. After a year of helping in financing the needs of the family, his parents decided to enroll him again to a vocational course but he was not able to finish because his girlfriend got pregnant, opting him to raise his own family.

“Nung una, masakit sa amin kasi gusto talaga sana namin na makapagtapos silang lahat. Pinakasal namin agad sila dahil ayaw namin na sa parte ng babae, baka iba ang isipin ng tao sa kaniya bilang nabuntis siya nang hindi pa nakakasal. Tinanggap na rin namin at wala naman kaming sawang magpayo sa kaniya, (At first, it was hard for us to accept it because we want all our children to finish their studies. We decided to get them married because we would not want the other people to criticize the girl since she got pregnant even though she is not yet married. We accepted them and we never get tired of giving them advise),said Rolando when asked how they felt after knowing that their son got his girlfriend pregnant.

After getting married, James and his new family live with in his parents’ house. He is now working with a Job Order position in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Occidental Mindoro to support his own family.

Nagpapasalamat pa rin po talaga ako lalo na sa aking mga magulang dahil kahit nagkaroon na ako ng asawa ay tinutulungan nila pa rin ako. Pinalaki talaga nila kami ng may mabuting asal at may takot sa Diyos (I thank my parents because even though I have a family of my own now, they still help me. Our parents really raise us to have good moral character and fear of God),” James said.

On the other hand, according to Dorothy, it is because of their situation that she became motivated to finish her studies especially when his older brother quit college to support them. Even though she only had P300 weekly allowance in college, she was able to manage her expenses well because she understands their situation.

Nakatapos po ako ng pag-aaral ng dahil sa pagsisikap nila mama. Sobrang naiintindihan po naming lahat yung kanilang sakripisyo para sa amin kaya sa totoo lang po kaming magkakapatid ay tumutulong din para kahit papaano ay makabawas sa hirap na dinadanas ng aming mga magulang (I finished my studies through the hard work of our parents. We fully understood their sacrifices for us that’s why my siblings and I are also helping them so that we can lessen our parents burden),” said Dorothy.

The family makes sure that they do other activities to keep their bond stronger

She was able to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering through scholarships with her good grades and is now working as an engineer in DPWH-Occidental Mindoro. She plans to take the licensure exam and is now starting to save money so she can attend a review center in Manila.

Since Jacqueline, James, and Dorothy are now working, they do not forget to help their family especially their three other siblings who are still studying such as John Robert, the 4th child, in Grade 10; Neil Joseph, the 5th child, in Grade 7; and their youngest, Mark Jay, in Grade 5. In fact, the three of them contributed in providing electricity to their house and to their grandparent’s house, which is near them.

Isa po talaga sa pangarap namin ay yung magkaroon ng kuryente kasi bata pa lang po kami, nagtitiis po talaga kami sa gasera lamang para magkaroon ng ilaw sa bahay, (One of our dreams is to have electricity at home because when I was a child, we only use lamp to light our house)” Dorothy said.

Rolando and Rosalie’s guidance to their children has led them to become a more compassionate, open-minded, and understanding individuals. They teach their children through action. After their 6PM daily prayer, they talk to each other openly because Rolando sees to it that they should always have time to communicate with his family.

 

Yang mag-asawa talaga ay marunong dumisiplina sa kanilang anak. Sila mismo ay maunawain at matalungin kaya siguro ay nakikita ng kanilang mga anak iyon (The couple knows how to discipline their children well. They, themselves, are understanding and helpful that’s why their children replicate them),” said Evangeline P. Echon, their cluster’s Parent Leader.

True enough, the couple’s kindness had brought Mark Jay to their family.

Mark Jay is not a biological child of Rosalie and Rolando. According to Rosalie, Mark Jay is her brother’s child. His wife suffered from post-partum psychosis hence, they cannot take care the young boy’s needs. Because of this, Rosalie and Rolando decided foster Mark Jay even though they are financially struggling that time. Rolando said that they did not hesitate to offer their help to support him because he deserves to be loved and be taken care of.

Naghihintay pa kami ng tamang oras para sabihin kay Mark Jay na siya ay ampon. Pero naunahan kami ng tito niya noong nagalit ito sa kaniya nung Grade 3 pa lang siya (We are waiting for the write time to tell Mark Jay that he is not our true child. But we were forestalled by his uncle when he was in Grade 3),” narrated Rosalie.

Even before, Mark Jay has been wondering why he uses a different last name from his siblings since they are “Manuel” while he is “Morris”.

Mark Jay does not hold any grudges to his foster parents even though he was not able to know it in the first place.

Naiintindihan ko naman po kung bakit di nila sinabi agad. Hindi ko nga po malalaman yun dahil inaruga nila ako na parang tunay nila akong anak kaya kahit naman hindi sa akin sabihin ay okay lang. Kulang na kulang pa nga po ang pasasalamat ko sa kanila dahil minahal nila ako at inalagaan na parang tunay na anak (I understand why they were not able to tell me straightaway. I won’t even notice that since they take care of me like I am their true son that’s why I won’t mind if they don’t tell me at all. My gratitude is not even enough for them since they love me and take care of me like I’m one of their children),” explained Mark Jay while crying.

At that circumstance, his parents and his siblings have given extra time to guide Mark Jay on his way to acceptance. According to Rosalie, it won’t happen in a day so that they give more efforts to help him because they love him as much as their own child.

“Hindi naman naging iba noon pa lang ang turing namin kay Mark Jay. Noong bata ako, sabi ko kay nanay noon wag na lang ako mag-gatas para makabili ng panggatas sa kaniya. Tanggap naman kasi namin siya noon pa (We do not consider Mark Jay as other people. When I was a child, I told my mother that I will stop drinking milk so that we could buy more milk for him. We already accepted him even before),” said Neil Joseph.

Makikita mo naman sa bata kung paano sila pinalaki ng kanilang mga magulang lalo na sa upbringing nito. Kahit si Mark Jay ay hindi nila tunay na anak, ang ugali nya ay kapareho rin ng kaniyang mga kapatid na talaga namang mababait (You can see how well a child grow up through the guidance of their parents through his/her upbringing. Even though Mark Jay is not their biological child, his character is the same with his siblings which are indeed generous),” said Cathy Sofelo, their class adviser in Casague Elementary School, where all six children of Rolando went.

It may seem that even though the Manuel family also have their own hardships and adversities, it does not hinder them in sharing their blessings to other people.

 

More Blessings to Receive, More Blessings to Give

In 2013, the family was able to become a member of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Sobrang blessed po kami lalo na po noong napasama kami sa 4Ps. Malaking tulong po ito sa amin lalo na po sa mga kapatid kong nag-aaral (We are really blessed when we were able to become a member of 4Ps. It is a great help for our family especially to my siblings who are studying),” said Dorothy.

Apart from the financial assistance they receive, the family has become more committed to improve their lives as strengthened from the lessons they have learned from the monthly attendance of Rosalie to the Family Development Sessions (FDS).

They become more concern with their surroundings and environment that they created their own backyard garden and practiced proper sanitation by having sanitary toilet and managing their wastes through decomposing and recycling. They collect and sell non-biodegradable wastes such as tin cans, plastic bottles, and plastics so they can have additional money for buying their basic needs.

They separate their garbage to biodegradable and recyclable so that they can sell the recyclable materials

Applying their knowledge from FDS, the family prepares their “Emergency Balde (e-balde)” for disaster risk reduction and response preparation.

Dahil po sa 4Ps, lagi na po kaming may baon sa school at nakakaipon po ako at nilalagay ko sa alkansya. Yung naiipon ko po ay ibinibigay ko kay Mama para pangtulong din po sa gastusin sa bahay (Because of 4Ps, we were able to have allowance for school which I was able to save and put in my piggy bank. I give my savings to Mama to help them with our daily expenses at home),” said Mark Jay, who is one of the monitored child.

According to Rosalie, the rice subsidy is also a big help to the family especially since common goods are expensive nowadays.

Ang tulong na binibigay ng gobyerno ay pinapahalagahan namin kaya naman kami rin sa aming pamilya ay tumutulong din sa iba pa nating mga kababayan para kahit papaano ay magshare ng aming biyayang natatanggap sa kanila, (We appreciate that our government gives us that’s why we also help other people in order to share the blessing we receive to them),” said Rolando.

And while the Manuel family receives more blessings with the help of the program, it allows them to share more blessings to other people as well.

 

Helper of the People

According to Rolando, his roots have been living in Sitio Cuartero since he was born. His father owns a land where he let the Mangyans work in exchange for a sack of rice. When he was a child, he got to play with the children of the Mangyans who work in their farm. This is when their family started to create a strong bond with the Mangyans in their community.

Mga kalaro ko lang sila dati at minsan itinuturing na rin namin silang kapamilya. Hindi kami yung ibang mga Tagalog na parang iwas sa kanila, (They were my playmates and sometimes, we consider them as our own family. We are unlike other Tagalogs who avoid them),” said Rolando.

Growing up with the Mangyans helps Rolando realized that these people are not to be avoided or intimidated. Since the tribe depends mainly on agriculture and live mostly in the mountains, Rolando knows that it is harder for them to keep pace with development especially that they lack knowledge since education is inaccessible to them.

When Rolando, created a family of his own, he made sure that they understand his passion to serve other people.

The family has established strong relationship to IPs since they conduct activities such as distribution of school supplies and food packs, etc.

Nakuha na namin sa aming mga magulang ang magmahal sa mga maliliit (katutubo) kaya hanggang sa ngayon, parang ang tingin namin sa kanila ay kaparehas din namin, (We inherited to our parents the love for the indigenous peoples that’s why, until now we see them as equals),” said Dorothy.

In school, his children are also kind to the IPs and they also join him in his advocacies to help the Mangyans.

“Natutuwa nga po ako sa mga batang yan kasi hindi sila ilang sa mga katutubo. Lagi sila yung kasama nila tapos kapag may nang-bubully eh sila ang nagtatanggol (I’m glad that those children are comfortable with the indigenous peoples. They are always with them and when they are bullied, they protect them),” said Cathy Sofelo, their class adviser in Grade 6 in Casague Elementary School, where all six children of Rolando went.

As a pastor of All Mission Vision Church, a protestant sect founded by the Koreans, Rolando was able to widen his reach to the minorities through linking them to God and at the same time helping them improve their lives. As a church leader, he was able to contribute in the establishment of churches in their barangay.

In order to serve his community more, he serves as barangay official for 23 years. Meanwhile, Rosalie volunteered as a barangay health worker (BHW) for 28 years.

With his desire to help the Mangyans in their community, Rolando was able to help in the establishment of a minority school in Sitio Ke-Oring presently known as Ke-Oring Minority School. When he found out that a Korean retiree is planning to have a school building project in Sitio Pinagturilan and was not approved by the IPs in the area, he proposed for its transfer to Sitio Ke-Oring. He lobbied the proposal of the project to the barangay local government unit so they can support him. Rolando believes that education is a significant step towards empowering the IPs to improve their well-being.

Noong una, day care pa lang ang school na yun, pero ngayon ay hanggang Grade 4 na (The school started from day care but now they offer classes for Grade 4 already),” Rolando said proudly.

According to Tomas Ibuca, Alangan Mangyan from Sitio Ke Oring, “malaking tulong sa aming mga anak ang pagpapatayo ng eskwelahan doon dahil natututo na sila ngayon hindi gaya namin noon na walang alam (the establishment of the school there is a great help to our children since they are now learning unlike us who are uneducated).”

Furthermore, the family seeks help from Ministries without Borders, a non-government organization (NGO) in Abra De Ilog, Occidental Mindoro, to sponsor the school supplies of IP children in different IP communities in their area. Together, the family has been doing this activity every May or June for three years now. The school supplies include bag, notebooks, ballpen, pencil, and crayons which is of great help to the IP children.

Aside from that, the family also conducts feeding program and other recreational activities (i.e. youth day) to the IPs of Brgy. Casague. Their children on the other hand, teach IP children to read, write, and sing praises to the Lord.

According to Dorothy, the IPs are their inspiration for striving hard amidst the difficulties in life.

But the family is not only generous to the IPs but also to other Tagalogs in their community.

Wala akong masasabing masama sa kanilang pamilya dahil wala silang bisyo, mababait, at mapagkakatiwalaan. Bukod sa pinansyal na tulong sa amin, sa kanila din namin nakilala ang Panginoon (I don’t have anything bad to say to this family since they do not have vices, and they are kind and trustworthy. Other than helping us financially, they also lead us to know God),” testified Purificacion Asuncion, their fellow church servant and neighbor in Brgy. Casague.

The endeavor and perseverance shown by the family is priceless according to their neighbors in Barangay Casague. As an ordinary family who performs extraordinary things for their community, they serve as a model and inspiration to other families.

 

Secret to Happiness

For the family, being a good community member means developing oneself and at the same time helping other people with their development.

The greatest prize of their efforts is seeing the smiles of the people they help, especially the minorities.

“Minsan tinatanong namin ang sarili namin kung bakit ba namin kailangang gawin ang mga bagay na ito. Bumabalik lang kami sa aming paninindigan na kung kami, bilang mga Tagalog ay nakakaranas na makakain ng kumpleto kahit simpleng ulam, bakit sila ba walang karapatan na magkaroon din? Palagay namin, kailangan naming gumawa (We sometimes ask ourselves on why we do such things. We just go back to our standpoint that if we as Tagalogs can be able to eat a complete meal even with simple food, don’t they also have the right to have what we have? We think that we need to do something),” said Rolando.

When asked about their secret of maintaining harmonious relationship of their family, Rosalie said, “walang perpektong pamilya pero kapag nagkakaisa at nagtutulungan, mas nagiging maganda ang kanilang pagsasamahan (there’s no perfect family but if they have unity and all of them work together, their relationship becomes better)”.

The Manuel family strives hard to help not only themselves but other people in their community as well

Through conducting activities for the IPs, their bond becomes stronger than ever.

Natutunan namin mula sa aming mga magulang na kailangan tayo laging makiramdam sa kung ano man ang nararamdaman ng ibang tao. Kaya naman, mas nagbukas din sa isip namin na intindihin ang sitwasyon namin na nakatulong rin naman para makatulong kami sa ibang tao (We learned from our parents that we need to be empathic towards other people. Thus, it opened our minds to understand our situation which helped us in helping other people as well),” Jacqueline added.

The Manuel family wants to show that something can be achieved without receiving anything in exchange. Their heart burns with passion to help others as they continue to go out, take action, and accomplish more.

As Rolando said, “nagtatrabaho kami nang mabuti upang magkaroon ng sapat na pangangailangan ang aming pamilya at magkaroon din ng sobra na maibibigay namin sa ibang nangangailangan (we work hard so we can have enough for the needs of our family and to have additional blessings to share with others who need it).”

Ang pangarap namin sa aming pamilya ngayon, ay makapagtapos lang ng pag-aaral ang aking mga anak at patuloy pa nawa kaming makatulong sa ibang tao para sabay-sabay umangat ang aming pamumuhay (What we dreamed of today for our family is for our children finish their studies and for us to continue helping other people so that we can raise out of poverty together), he added. ###

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